How A Personal Relationship Changed OSI Group Forever

While OSI Group today is global firm with 20,00 employees and 65 food processing facilities for much of its existence it was a smaller regional company in the state of Illinois. It was in 1909 that this company was founded with Otto Kolchowsky starting it as a retail store that sold meat he butchered himself. He wanted his company to be bigger, though, so he expanded into the wholesale side of the industry before 10 years had gone by. He rebranded his company as Otto & Sons in 1928 when his two sons, Harry and Arthur, joined the company. Over the years they were a regional player but 1955 proved to be a fateful year for them. Harry and Arthur’s friend, Ray Kroc, opened the first McDonald’s fast food restaurant in that year.

It was hugely popular and more and more franchises popped up. Ray Kroc had selected Otto & Sons to be one of his main suppliers of beef and so supplying McDonald’s became a huge part of the company over time. Today, now named OSI Group, they supply McDonald’s globally with meat. They also have other customers around the world as well such as Burger King, Yum Brands, Subway, and large grocery chains. It has been run by their Chief Executive Officer Sheldon Lavin since 1975. He came in as a part-owner and eventually owned the entire company as Harry and Arthur retired and sold their interest to him.

Under Sheldon Lavin’s leadership, OSI Group is committed to being a sustainable food production company. He is a huge believer in embracing change and new technologies. One of their mains focuses is on increasing their efficiency and at the same time decreasing any negative effects his company has on the environment. The leadership team of OSI Group keeps sustainability among the most important issues when making operational decisions. OSI Group has won many industry awards for their sustainability. Among these is the Environmental Award given by the North America Meat Institute. They have also won the California Green Business Award as well as the British Safety Council’s Globe of Honour.

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