The modern globalized economy has seen a significant rise in innovation in numerous industries. In the food industry, very few players have matched the success that OSI industries has achieved throughout its illustrious history. Distributed in 17 countries with 65 facilities that run its operations, OSI Industries has earned and maintained its rightful place as a global leader in the food production and distribution industry.
Otto Kolchowsky’s German family had just immigrated to the US and was settling in Illinois when he decide to open a butcher shop. After starting out small in 1909, he built his business gradually and within ten years he had ventured into the wholesale market and opened up a branch of his business in Maywood, Chicago.
The years that followed saw its expansion and resultant rebranding to Otto and Sons to accomodate his two sons. The growth of the economy during the post war period that involved urbanisation created room for a partnership of two family businesses. Otto’s two sons, borrowing a leaf from their father, joined hands with one of McDonald’s first franchise in Chicago. The partnership made them the sole distributor of fresh meat to McDonald’s.
The McDonald’s got a new owner who was keen on investing on the franchise model of business that was taking root in US. As the brand grew, the partnership with Otto &Sons was maintained and the latter kept supplying meat products to the growing McDonald’s base.
The rapidly growing demand forced Harry and Arthur, Otto’s sons, to scale up their business. They built a plant in 1973 that dealt solely with products supplied to McDonald’s. The plant incorporated the flash freezing technology that had revolutionized the food industry at the time.
In 1975 Otto & Sons was rebranded to OSI industries to represent the transformation that the firm had experienced since its inception. In the same year the firm brought on board Sheldon Lavin as partner. He had already spent five years at the company as an investment consultant and adequately knew his way around the business. This was mainly done to increase international presence and Sheldon did not disappoint.
Uttah was home for the firm’s first facility outside Chicago. This was followed by numerous other facilities in North America. OSI industries’ first international break came in 1978 when they partnered with McDonald’s and set up a firm in Germany. They did so next in Spain and by the turn of the new century OSI industries had set up facilities in China, the UK, Philippines, Australia among other nations. Sheldon Lavin had since become chief executive officer and chairman of the industry.
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