When Sheldon Lavin joined OSI Group in the 70’s (formerly known as Otto & Sons) he came in with a plan and ideas. With a background in business and banking, his ideas were to expand and grow the business; and that’s exactly what he did. What was a small wholesale meat company became a worldwide leader in food processing thanks to his skills and ambition.
In 1909, what would become OSI was only a small neighborhood butcher shop and market. By 1928, the business had expanded into wholesale and the company became Otto & Sons. Its first breakthrough came in 1955 when McDonald’s became a franchise and chose the meat company as one of its main suppliers. As Otto & Sons grew, in 1973 the company eventually opened a plant dedicated to only producing meat patties and became an exclusive supplier for McDonald’s.
In 1975 the name was changed to OSI Industries and it shared its success with McDonald’s as the franchise expanded dramatically—thus needing more product. It was also during this time that Sheldon Lavin became a partner of the company and saw its potential. He began to push further for more expansion and steered it in the direction to success. Between the 80’s and 90’s OSI quickly expanded all over the world and began opening more plants in the U.S. as well.
Further expansion and Acquisitions
In the 2000’s and through Sheldon Lavin’s leadership, OSI acquired a produce venture in China. This business would push the company in a different direction, further than only being involved in meat products. From 2014 to 2016 the company continued to acquire more food plants and became involved in many joint ventures as well. The most recent and notable of acquisitions was an Illinois Tyson plant with a footprint of nearly 38 square miles. The massive plant was purchased for over $7 million dollars in 2016.
Sheldon Lavin and his drive
Sheldon’s drive for expansion didn’t come suddenly. As an investor and banker, his aspire to grow the company came almost naturally. When he began at OSI, he came in as a third owner; the other two parts belonging to the brothers who originally owned it. His leverage increased when one of the brothers sold his part to Lavin. At this time Lavin became 50% owner and had full suggestion privileges. These privileges allowed him to steer the company into unimaginable expansion and turn it into what it is now.
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Making a food processor into a corporate giant isn’t an easy thing to do. In the early days of this industry there were countless meat delis competing for local markets, but OSI managed to come out of that market and make a name for itself as one of the most profitable meat processors around today. That is all due to the hard work of Sheldon Lavin and his efforts to make OSI into a global empire. With his vision the company has emerged as a billion dollar privately owned corporation with holdings across the planet and no sign of stopping.
Sheldon Lavin’s work at OSI began with finance. He helped OSI realize they had the potential to go much further than they had if they decided to focus on purchasing foreign meat processors. These moves helped OSI supply fast food chains looking to expand into foreign markets in need of a source of protein. As a major source of protein it was clear that OSI was on its way to taking out the competition from any corner of the market, but that wasn’t enough for Lavin. He wouldn’t be satisfied until OSI Group was a tour de force operating in every possible food processing niche.
Lavin has expanded OSI to include frozen vegetables and frozen dough as well. This gives the brand the ability to handle every aspect of the fast food supply chain out there. They can supply an entire pizza chain, a coffee shop, and just about anything else that comes their way. Few companies have something even close to that. The versatility of OSI has put them leagues ahead of their competition and created an empire none can touch. They are the largest provider of protein in the world without a question.
OSI has proven itself to be incredibly resilient in its survival. Most companies are not able to last 100 years nor do most companies come close to the titles that OSI has obtained. Sheldon Lavin was able to do this because he values his employees and he refuses to let anyone tell him that his works aren’t important or that he should lower his expectations. As such, OSI continues to thrive and has the potential to last much longer as its worldwide growth continues. It takes great minds to grow a corporation and that’s exactly what seems to have happened with the growth of OSI.
OSI Industries was in known initially as Otto and Sons. A German immigrant founded the company in the early 1900s. Otto Kolschowsky began with a small business that he ran with his children. It was meat market located in the Chicago Illinois area. Otto and Sons provided local patrons and other companies with meat products. They serviced businesses as well. The company eventually grew into one of the most trusted meat providers in the Chicago Illinois area.
By the 1950s Otto Kolschowsky’s children were running the business. His son’s entered into a working relationship with Ray Kroc who was the leader of the McDonald’s Organization. Otto and Sons became the sole meat provider for McDonald’s which was quickly growing across the nation. They introduced several innovations that allowed them to accomplish this task. One tool was the meat patty cutting machine. It helped Otto and Sons cater to the needs of the McDonald’s Organization. The company also implemented cryogenic freezing chambers enabling them to store large amounts of product that supported the efforts of the growing food giant.
Sheldon Lavin was recommended to oversee the process of building a new plant that would be needed to support the McDonald’s partnership. Lavin initially came on as a consultant. However, his role grew over the years. He was eventually asked by the McDonald’s Organization to be a full-time partner in the operation. Sheldon provided the vision that took Otto and Sons to an international level with McDonald’s. Space. The company became known as OSI Industries after Lavin gradually took control of the business. The founders retired and sold their interest. Lavin gained full power and proceeded to push OSI Industries to worldwide influence.
OSI Industries now operates in 17 different countries with 65 separate facilities. It has made several acquisitions expanding its reach throughout the industry. The company itself offers a variety of products including ground beef, hot dogs, bacon, fish and vegetable products. OSI acquired two European food manufacturers. Baho Foods and Flagship Food Group are expected to reach different industry clientele that was previously unavailable. Both of these companies provide specific services such as mayonnaise, sauces, and sandwich dressings.
OSI was able to achieve such growth by making sure that they bring in the type of personnel that can understand its innovative maneuvering. OSI Industries prides itself on having a diverse workforce that functions and every region of the world. There are recruiting bases in the United States, the Asia-Pacific, Hungary, the United Kingdom and Germany. Lavin believes that the company should have a family feel even though it has risen to an international level.
OSI Group Info: www.linkedin.com/company/osi-industries