In one century, many businesses have come and gone but one has stood the test of time to become a leading food processing company. It boasts of having over 60 facilities in 17 nations with a staff of more 20,000 employees. This company started from scratch and thanks to the dedication of the founding family it grew steadily into an international business by the name of OSI Group.
OSI Group began as a small butcher shop in Oak Park, Chicago in 1909. It was established by Otto Kolchowsky, a German immigrant. Within a decade, the business developed into a wholesale butchery, and relocated to Maywood. Success followed Otto’s business and in 1928, it was rebranded to Otto & Sons. After the World War One, there was a rapid economic expansion that brought about the launch of many businesses across the nation including McDonald’s restaurant in 1955. The restaurant was founded by Ray Kroc who entered into an informal agreement with Otto’s sons, Harry and Arthur, to be the first fresh ground beef supplier. As McDonald took off, so did Otto & Sons. It continued to supply the growing number of McDonald’s restaurants and with this demand it increased its facilities.
Technological Advancements and Changes
In the 1960s, flash-freezing was discovered. Thereafter, Otto & Sons quickly adapted to the technology. Flash-freezing is the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze foods promptly. This technology saw Otto & Sons’ production skyrocket with the reduction in costs that came with it. The business eventually became McDonald’s top supplier beating over a hundred other suppliers. The company built its first state-of-the-art facility dedicated to McDonalds in Illinois. The facility had flash-freezing machinery that froze hamburger patties. Later on, the other aspects of the business that did not serve McDonalds were gathered into Glenmark brand which catered for the needs of local retail markets and restaurants.In 1975, after almost 70 years of operation, Otto & Sons transitioned to OSI Industries. The leadership also changed from the Kolchowskys who were nearing retirement, to Sheldon Lavin. A Century of Innovation at OSI Group.
OSI Group opened its first facility outside Chicago in 1977 in West Jordan. Afterward, more facilities sprouted up in North America. When McDonalds broke into the global market, OSI Group did too. It established a venture in Germany and another in Spain in 1978 and 1980 respectively. Sheldon Lavin became CEO and chairman of the OSI Group company and spearheaded the expansion of OSI internationally, into Europe and Asia. Recently, it acquired a plant owned by Tyson Foods and also purchased Baho foods but continued its operation under OSI.
OSI Group has been a recipient of many awards as a result of its exemplary leadership. It has an admirable portfolio, and with its excellent leadership, it is bound to become the most significant food supplier in the international market.
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