Nelson Cabrera – Going Above and Beyond in Business


Dan Abbate is a Contributor on the Price of Business on Business Talk 1110 AM KTEK on Bloomberg’s home in Houston (learn more about Dan at

He recently interviewed Nelson R. Cabrera, Director of Business Development, at LILLY + Associates International. Nelson leads global business development efforts within the company and has been featured as a logistics expert in numerous publications, including SupplyChainBrain, The Bulletin Panama, Logistics Management and the Miami Herald.


Tell me about your firm.
Founded in 1996, LILLY + Associates International is a multinational shipping and logistics services company, specializing in ocean freight. The company is headquartered in Miami, Florida and operates wholly-owned offices in North America, Central/South America and Asia. The company works with small, medium and large international businesses. The business has 200 employees globally.

Tell me about a time your company went above and beyond for someone (a customer, a vendor, an employee, etc)?
Our company was recently notified by a customer, who was opening up a resort in the middle of the Panama jungle, that they needed an export quote out of the U.S. in time for a movie that was going to be shot on site. After looking at the date the cargo would be ready, we quickly realized their original request for an ocean quote would not do the job and had to ship their cargo by air. Due to flight schedules and the time crunch, the trucker needed to drive 12 hours away to the other side of the country. He even needed to go on a ferry to be able to deliver the goods! We were relieved when everything arrived safely, only to find out shortly after that the original shipper did not include part of the order on the original shipment. We coordinated immediately and ultimately delivered in time for the movie!

Why was this time “special”?
As you very well might imagine, most shippers of this size have logistics processes down pat. With the hard deadline of a movie, it was important that our company take care of all aspects of the shipment so the business could focus on other aspects of their business. This shipment had particularly difficult logistical challenges for us to get the customer through, including transit time, geographical issues and overall issues with the origin not packing the complete shipment in the initial load.

Did this experience alter your company’s Best Practices?
It did. When individuals are in a stressful situation, sometimes minor details can be overlooked. Our team is now accustomed to working with both the shipper and the consignee to make sure they are on the same page as far as what is being shipped and in what timeframe. It is best that all information be laid out on the table in the beginning with clear expectations for all parties. It’s cheaper and more effective for the international businesses we work with!

Is this a common in your industry? If not, why do you think it is not?
It is very common in our industry to have customers who might have other priorities other than logistics at that time. One of the benefits of working with a skilled international freight forwarder is that we are able to assess your needs and make proper recommendations to be of benefit. In our industry, many freight forwarders tend to take more of an “order taker” role versus an advisor. We strive to identify new ways to continue to place ourselves in the latter category.

Contact information:

Thanks so much, Nelson, for taking the time to talk with us today. Logistics is a difficult business, but when you are able to go above and beyond for your customers, everyone wins.

Do you have an interesting success story that you’d like to share? Tell me about it! Email me at dan (at) robotaton (dot) com.