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MSI, Succeeding in Accommodating Customer Demand



MSI, Succeeding in Accommodating Customer Demand

Jeffrey Lovely believes in his ability to find solutions to your paper-import needs that he put that philosophy right into the name of his company.

Multiplex Solutions, a wholly-owned Canadian-operated import/export operation based in Montreal, Quebec, is quickly becoming a big-time player in the paper industry with an array of options to mitigate challenges that seem ever-present in today’s business climate.

Concerns about supply chain management? Multiplex has that solution. Are their products sustainable? You bet. What about reputation and business acumen? Multiplex Solutions is second to none.

“The perfect customer in our business is someone who understands where we’re at, and who wants to be price conscientious, but understands that supply is part of operations,” said Lovely. “When we put that together we are cost effective for both our company, and the customer.”

No kidding.

Lovely and Multiplex are embracing supply chain management by exploring new ways to succeed, instead of throwing their hands up in frustration like so many others.

“We’re going to some of the non-traditional players and looking for their help,” said Lovely. “In the past those smaller non-traditional players have never been able to compete, or produce at a profitable margin to make it sustainable. But today, with the high cost of resale and the cost to the consumer these smaller players are able to compete.

“It’s about reaching out to them for supply and then begin importing their products to the Canadian market.”

Multiplex has secured agreements to continue importing paper from Europe and its Asian suppliers, but it also branching out to begin similar plans by importing paper from Slovakia and South Africa.

The result is high-quality paper that is more quickly provided to customers in the North American market.

How high is that quality? Check this out.

“With import paper, it’s considered a high-bright paper. It’s 96 to 100 bright, where in North America it’s a 92 bright,” said Lovely. “There’s a better quality, there’s a higher bulk to it and smoothness to it. It’s a paper that North American consumers are snapping up.”

How does Multiplex Solutions take an in-demand product like imported paper, and ensure that is available for an eager customer base? By identifying supply chain gaps and filling them with, well…solutions.

“While there’s been a decrease in actual demand for paper, as we change to digital and society adjusts, what we’re really seeing is there’s an artificial demand now. People aren’t sitting on two and three months of inventory to fill orders,” said Lovely, who has more than 30 years of experience in the import business. “We’re not just working with domestic North American producers. We’re well known in Asia and South America and Europe. And we’re expanding to ensure that we have the right partnerships to increase.

“Paper manufacturers today don’t want to be involved in logistics…they want to produce paper. That’s where we can come in, with our expertise, and work through the complexities of logistics to ensure we can import paper for our customers as quickly and efficiently as possible.

“We can load up our own container, work with the shipping line, and make sure that shipping container is on its way to Canada.”

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The Benefits Of Coaching In The Workplace



The world of coaching is a flourishing industry, and many innovative leaders are finding that they need to become coaches. This can be a positive thing because coaching and leading work hand-in-hand. Not only does this develop your skills as a leader, but it also pushes your staff to embrace and take ownership of their development.

The Benefits of Coaching

Coaching has numerous benefits for the individual being coached and the organization as a whole. For an individual, the benefits include:

Take greater responsibility for their results and the results of the people they work with;
Be more accountable for actions and commitments;
Plan and take action towards achieving goals and objectives;
Communicate more effectively with others;
Become more self-reliant and confident:
Increased creativity, productivity, and self-esteem;
Make more significant contributions to their team and organization;
Have greater satisfaction in life and career.
Other benefits include:
Strengthen individual’s skills so they can delegate more tasks and focus on their core strengths:
Improve employee retention since managers are taking the time to help employees enhance their skills;
Uncover hidden talent in people that can be utilized more effectively;
Overcome time-consuming and non-value-adding performance issues;
Use company resources more effectively as coaching costs less than formal training.

The main thing to recognize is that coaching brings the best out of individuals and teams, which results in improved productivity, increased employee engagement, and better performance. In most cases, people’s performance improves because they want to improve, not because they are instructed they have to. Coaching is a powerful technique to discover what people’s self-motivation is.

How Coaching can be Used in an Organization

Coaching is a technique that can be used in a 360-degree fashion. Much like 360-degree feedback, coaching can be executed the same way: uphill, downhill, laterally, and coaching of teams. An authentic coaching culture allows coaching to be used in all directions equally. 

Organizations can approach coaching in a way that aligns with their objectives. Before employing a coaching strategy, the company must identify key points on how managers will become coaches and how those managers should coach others. Typically, this is a Human Resource effort with Executive Management supporting the initiative. This ensures a company-wide initiative.

Coaching downhill is the most straightforward and most utilized technique. Downward coaching involves a higher-level employee, arching subordinate employees. Since direct reports are the easiest to influence and have the greatest level of contact with the manager, these are easy candidates for coaching.

Coaching uphill is more complicated. Coaching upwards involves a manager coaching his superior. This technique is unique and hard to implement. For this to be effective, the entire organization must be open and encourage upward coaching. This can be seen as a manager guiding a superior manager. This can be as simple as the manager being a third party to help work through problems with a superior manager. 

Coaching laterally involves coaching peers of the same level in the hierarchy. This can happen at the manager or even at the lowest level of employee. This involves guiding co-workers with the same position level as the person doing the coaching. This can often be mistaken as cross-training, but it is not skill-based. It is development-based.

Coaching teams usually comes last concerning implementation. Team coaching is about guiding already-empowered individuals to work as a high-performing team. A coach in this respect would help the team clarify its objectives in the beginning and check in throughout the process to help and aid in defining future learning points for the team at the end. The team members should be independent, self-directed, and operating effectively.

Coaching can also provide many benefits in all directions. When coaching downhill, it provides confidence and growth for the employee. It allows the employee to freely talk about what is happening in the organization in a safe space. This also provides a channel for feedback from unbiased sources in confidence. 

Whether it is coaching uphill, downhill, or laterally, coaching is beneficial because it allows the people being coached to gain skills they did not have. It allows for growth and development at all levels to become better employees no matter what level they currently work at. 

The coaching process provides insight and an opportunity to reflect on one’s performance. The coach and the person being coached are on a path of self-discovery that brings to light many new elements of their personality. This allows both parties to become more in touch with themselves and gain more knowledge about who they are as people. By working in a coaching environment, new ideas are presented regularly because more people are discussing situations and solutions that may have been undiscussed in other environments.

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Jess Legge On How We Need To Adjust To The Future Of Work



The Benefits of Flexibility. One thing the pandemic taught us is that many types of work can be done anywhere and at any time. We see so many companies choosing not to reopen their offices, as being remote hasn’t affected the success and productivity of their teams. The savings on facilities is great for companies, but it’s unwise for them to count it all as such. Businesses must continue to invest in the employee work environment — making it motivating, engaging, and productive — wherever it is.

When it comes to designing the future of work, one size fits none. Discovering success isn’t about a hybrid model or offering remote work options. Individuals and organizations are looking for more freedom. The freedom to choose the work model that makes the most sense. The freedom to choose their own values. And the freedom to pursue what matters most. We reached out to successful leaders and thought leaders across all industries to glean their insights and predictions about how to create a future that works.

As a part of our interview series called “How Employers and Employees are Reworking Work Together,” we had the pleasure to interview Jess Legge.

Jess Legge is the CEO and Co-Founder of Sifted, a woman and LGBTQ+ owned company that offers resources for organizations looking to engage their employees in the new era of the workplace. Founded in 2015, Sifted is the employee engagement partner to Fortune 500s and the nation’s fastest-growing companies. Jess is also an advisor and co-founder of Street Sense, the only fully integrated curb management technology that utilizes citywide camera networks to gather curb utilization data for both drivers and municipalities.

Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today.

I took a charcoal drawing intensive in college that started at 7:30 am and was a 3 hour long lab each week. Going into the course I was nervous — I have always liked art and enjoyed painting and drawing in my free time but I’d never done it for a grade. I walked into the first day of class and they handed me a pinecone and told me to start drawing. This was our first project. I meticulously worked on the sketch for the week, hell bent on getting an A. I turned in the sketch that Friday and when I got my grade back, I had flunked it. I went into the professor’s office dumbfounded and asked for feedback. He looked at me and said he failed me because he could see in my strokes that I was trying too hard to do what I thought he wanted to see versus what was natural. I asked for a redo and submitted a new drawing (that I did in half the time with my intuition guiding me) and got an A. That lesson always stuck with me — if I try to mold myself into what I think someone’s expecting, I can hamper my abilities and the inauthenticity will be obvious. It’s been a valuable lesson in all aspects of life — including entrepreneurship.

Let’s zoom out. What do you predict will be the same about work, the workforce and the workplace 10–15 years from now? What do you predict will be different?

Collaboration will always be a part of work. Ways to engage, communicate with one another, building trust. Sifted is all about team engagement, no matter where we’re working from, our teams will always rely on communication. It can be difficult to predict what can happen 10–15 years from now, given what has happened in the last 2 years. If anything will be different, the idea of human connection is going to be important to foster work relationships and creativity.

What advice would you offer to employers who want to future-proof their organizations?

Be open to new technology and ways of doing business, try new things, and be decisive about what to keep and what isn’t for your organization. Also, take care of employees. Pay them more than the competition, provide flexible work environments, create opportunities for meaningful engagements and relationship building during the workday, provide opportunities for advancement beyond the stereotypical management path.

What do you predict will be the biggest gaps between what employers are willing to offer and what employees expect as we move forward? And what strategies would you offer about how to reconcile those gaps?

Employees post-pandemic want meaningful perks, more than just donuts and beer carts. I think that will continue to be an expectation for employees, and something that employers will need to think ahead on. What actually makes them happier, better nourished, feel more like a team with their coworkers? That’s where Sifted provides such value. We allow companies to perk employees in a way that is truly meaningful. Not only are there the real benefits of having a free, healthful lunch, but the secondary benefits of nourishment, team building, and breaking from the day to experience something new and different have long term value for the employer and the employee.

We simultaneously joined a global experiment together last year called “Working From Home.” How will this experience influence the future of work?

There’s no doubt about it. Employees now demand the ability to work remotely. However, having done so for so long, employees will also demand workplaces that give them a quiet, focused, inspiring place to work away from the distractions of home. Companies will be forced to offer models that accommodate those who love work from home as well as those who don’t. It’s going to be vital for them to be flexible in providing the perks and benefits for both in-office and remote employees.

We’ve all read the headlines about how the pandemic reshaped the workforce. What societal changes do you foresee as necessary to support a future of work that works for everyone?

First and most importantly, organizations have to get better at listening to their employees’ needs and work to anticipate ways in which their environments might be exacerbating existing disparities within the workplace. Create a culture that supports and rewards honest conversation around the changes that have occurred as a result of the pandemic. For some employees, work from home might be a welcome relief while other employees fear getting left behind if their contributions are not seen within the traditional office setting. Employers must be aware of disproportionate child-care burdens that some of their team face, concerns around opening up their private lives via Zoom to their teams, and so on while working from home — all while acknowledging that WFH and hybrid models have been a welcome reprieve for some historically marginalized staff, offering more freedom to show up as their authentic selves. Each and every individual on your team is unique and deserves the space to ask for an environment that supports their needs and we as a society and as business leaders have to give them the opportunity to do so. We must challenge our implicit biases and examine the systems we have in place to ensure they are supporting an inclusive future of work.

What is your greatest source of optimism about the future of work?

Working isn’t a bad thing. In fact, work gives us purpose, a chance to create, a place (among others) to make an impact. The way the outlook on career and the workplace has changed in the last several years is going to change what people will expect out of their careers and from their future jobs. I believe we’ll continue to grow and evolve and that we can find positive ways to bring the joy back to work.

Our collective mental health and wellbeing are now considered collateral as we consider the future of work. What innovative strategies do you see employers offering to help improve and optimize their employee’s mental health and wellbeing?

We’re already seeing many companies provide coverage for mental health under their insurance plans, which is an important first step. But we know that’s just one way to address mental health and that a healthy mental state comes from being nourished in many ways. Food is one literal form of nourishment — our clients are supporting employee wellness and combining it with their own collaboration. Another piece of that is full office closures. Coinbase just announced shutting the office down for four weeks spread throughout the year. Sifted shuts the whole office down from 24th of December to January 2nd to provide more intentional opportunities to recharge. I would also consider child care stipends to be a way for employers to optimize their employees’ mental health and wellbeing. It takes the mental load off of working parents to know they can work and provide for their families while knowing their children are being taken care of.

It seems like there’s a new headline every day. ‘The Great Resignation’. ‘The Great Reconfiguration’. And now the ‘Great Reevaluation’. What are the most important messages leaders need to hear from these headlines? How do company cultures need to evolve?

The names are new, but the concept isn’t. We need to listen to our employees as we always have. We need to listen, enact changes, get feedback, and keep tweaking and improving. We also need to understand that work is a two-way street. Employers can no longer get away with assuming an imbalanced power dynamic; workers are reclaiming their power, as they should.

Let’s get more specific. What are your “Top 5 Trends To Track In the Future of Work?”

  1. Empathy is Key
    Empathy is key in retaining employees. Companies must listen to their employees and put themselves in their shoes to fully understand and connect with them. Moreover, if we say we believe this but don’t build that belief into our plans, we can’t deliver. Our business plans need to be designed with empathy in mind. We must leave room — time, resources, space — for the business to accommodate employee needs for time away for illnesses, family priorities, and time off.
  2. Connection in the Workplace
    Connecting with employees on a level beyond work creates a more collaborative environment and shows that the employer values them. Showing your employees you care about them as people and providing them with an inclusive space can directly impact the growth of your company. It’s hard not to like people when you know them on a personal level, so helping your teams know one another makes room for them to like, support, and help each other.
  3. Meaningful Perks
    As I’ve said, employees nowadays are looking for meaningful perks above everything else. As the workplace continues to evolve, so will the kinds of perks that employers are offering. Whether it’s catered lunches, or even offering sabbaticals, certain perks are deemed more valuable to employees than a pay raise. These perks will become more creative and elaborate over time, which we’re starting to see with many organizations.
  4. The Benefits of Flexibility
    One thing the pandemic taught us is that many types of work can be done anywhere and at any time. We see so many companies choosing not to reopen their offices, as being remote hasn’t affected the success and productivity of their teams. The savings on facilities is great for companies, but it’s unwise for them to count it all as such. Businesses must continue to invest in the employee work environment — making it motivating, engaging, and productive — wherever it is.
  5. Technology Evolution
    As technology continues to evolve, the more managerial tasks will become automated. This may be viewed as a negative to some, but I see it as a positive because it will allow employers to focus more on the manager-employee relationships and fostering the core components of their organizations. Businesses need to be thoughtful about where they automate and intentional about where they choose not to leverage technology. When it comes to relationships, technology should serve to deepen the personal connection, not to replace it.

I keep quotes on my desk and on scraps of paper to stay inspired. What’s your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? And how has this quote shaped your perspective?

Work hard and treat people well. This is how Sifted operates. We’re completely bootstrapped, and at our core we are about treating people — our clients, their employees, and our employees — well. Whether that’s treating them to lunch or treating them with respect, we treat others well. These simple words keep me grounded and focused on what matters. As Brene Brown is known for saying, “what we know matters, but who we are matters more.”

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she, or they might just see this if we tag them.

Ava Duvernay. I’m such a big fan of her films; I value the messages they convey and admire the way she conveys them. She’s immensely talented, a pioneer in her field, and a force for inclusion, and I could learn so much from her.

Our readers often like to continue the conversation with our featured interviewees. How can they best connect with you and stay current on what you’re discovering?

@jlegge on twitter

Thank you for sharing your insights and predictions. We appreciate the gift of your time and wish you continued success and good health.

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Heart Tree



Several months ago I started seeing heart shapes everywhere I looked. I couldn’t seem to get away from them. I’d see hearts in the clouds, grass, flowers…even the pavement. Then on one of my daily walks, I came across a tree that took my breath away.

The tree was beautiful. From its base firmly implanted in the ground, a big, strong, solid trunk reaches to the sky. A few feet up, the trunk divides, creating two massive extensions that separate, allowing branches to extend and grow in all directions. Then smaller branches and leaves converge, leaving a small gap at the top, forming a perfect heart shaped tree.

Over time, I’ve come to see this tree as a metaphor. The trunk represents the way we start, by creating a strong foundation within ourselves as individuals. And then, like the sturdy branches, we reach out in all directions, to experience other people, places and things, building on that foundation. Like the branches and leaves, emotions, thoughts and feelings fill in the space to complete the heart. Even the little empty patch at the top is a reminder that there’s always room for more love and compassion to fill our hearts. It’s a perfect tree.

On a recent walk, I turned the corner in a different part of our neighborhood and was surprised to find a branch from a tree had fallen, taking down a street lamp and crushing a car. Because there’d been no high winds, I wondered what had happened inside the tree that would cause such a large section to seemingly just break off? Now, with that big branch gone, the remaining part of the tree appeared uneven and unbalanced. Inside myself I felt bad for the tree, knowing how hard it must be working to find its new center. Or was that me?

Our younger son begins high school next week. Attending his orientation was very exciting…for me. Finding his locker, getting his class schedule, buying his PE clothes- it was so much fun! But our fully adolescent, show-no-emotion-son was less enthusiastic. My husband gently reminded me how hard it is for him (or anyone) to start somewhere new, how insecure kids are at this age (even when they don’t show it), and how attending orientation with his parents, of all people, isn’t how he’d prefer to spend his time. I found my way to compassion, but it took a beat. I just knew that this was the last time I’d get to share a high school orientation with our boys and it was hitting me hard.

On top of that, our older son is weeks away from leaving for college. He’s filled with anticipation, excitement and nerves as he counts down the days to his departure. I was doing an amazing job distracting myself until I saw that tree- the one with a chunk of it missing. With such a big part of it gone, how was it going to thrive? Could it find it’s balance and adapt to this new version of itself?

Yes, this was definitely about me.

Focusing on the details and logistics of sending our son off to college has been a wonderful distraction. But lately, I haven’t been able to escape the truth: OH MY GOLLY- once we get him moved in, I’m going to leave him there! My baby. I think about the moment when I have to say goodbye and I wonder if I’ll have the strength to remain vertical like the tree did as it lost its branch? I have visions of me lying in a puddle of tears.

Letting go, supporting him, and finding my new center- all of these things have been weighing heavily on me. As that thought crosses my mind, my hand brushes across my stomach and I’m aware that I’m actually, physically carrying additional weight. It seems my body is responding to this transition in its own way.

I’ve always been fascinated with our bodies and the wisdom they offer. I remember the surgery I had a few months after losing our daughter, where a very large cyst was removed. Reflecting back on the event, I found it interesting that the cyst was the size of a small grapefruit (or child) and the surgery occurred around our daughter’s due date. Was this my body’s way of dealing with the trauma of the loss?

Or the time I had my appendix removed after a week-long intensive lab that completed the first year of my studies in Spiritual Psychology. I released so much toxic material in that first year, it didn’t surprise me that my body responded this way.

Or the incredible learning I’ve received through my experience with breast cancer, as I came to understand the symbolism of losing my breasts. My body was sending me such a loud message that it was time to begin separating from our boys.

And now, as I approach the day I have to say goodbye to our older son at college, it seems my body is holding onto weight. I could point to the cancer meds or my overindulgence of ice cream this summer to justify the weight gain. But my training encourages me to explore the opportunities available to me and my sense is that the weight really represents a larger issue. So I turn my focus to considering what the weight may be offering me.

The extra weight is showing up in my stomach and my rear. I think about that tree and consider how a heavier object is more grounded and harder to tip over. And the weight may be an unconscious attempt to ground myself. Or maybe the weight represents the physical manifestation of my current (over)responsibilities. Like so many of us, I have a lot going on these days and find myself overwhelmed with all I’ve taken on. These things certainly resonate as truth, but I sense this is just a tiny part of why the weight is lingering. I understand that the learning surfaces as we’re able to process it and clarity comes with time. So for now, I’m willing to be patient. I hear a whisper encouraging me to slow down and give myself time to feel all the feelings.

When I do, all sorts of emotions surface. Fear takes the lead, showing up (coincidentally?) in my stomach. It feels like someone has scooped out my gut. I give myself some time to identify all the things that are scaring me. Once that’s complete, I picture my stomach surrounded with love. Then I notice that just beyond the fear is sadness, a mourning, as I consider how I will no longer have immediate access to our older son’s growth, like I have through every other stage of his life. I give into those feelings, allowing them full expression and then release them. I think about all the other Moms (and Dads) going through similar experiences as we separate from our children and am immediately overwhelmed with compassion for our shared experience.

In the past, I would’ve beat myself up about the weight gain. But experience has taught me that the pendulum swings to one side and then the other, but always settles in the middle. The learning will come and eventually the weight will be released and I will come back to center. I sense this period of adjustment calls for patience and gentleness.

As the summer days begin to fade and we head into Fall, I imagine a new branch will begin to stem from the trunk of the tree with the fallen branch. And with time, I’ll adjust and adapt, finding new opportunities with this new, vast space that is opening for me.

Until then, I’ll hug our boys extra tight, enjoy the extra jiggle I feel in my tush, and celebrate our beautiful, magnificent family. (Many) Tears will inevitably be shed as we leave our son to set off on his own, but inside myself I know the truth: he is loved, held, and ready for his new adventure. And like the heart tree, I’ll be filling in the patchy part with new, wonderful experiences and emotions. Because all sorts of magic and miracles await me in my continued, amazing journey of being a Mom.

In loving,


If you need support through your midlife experience, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

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