The fascinating history of OSI Industries involves a key partnership with the greatest corporate success story of the 20th Century. It also details two important methods that they use to further their capabilities. They have become one of the world’s leading food processors and have attained a rare level of success. The beginnings of OSI Industries go all the way back to 1909 when a German immigrant named Otto Kolschowsky opened up a butcher shop and meat market. He chose a likely corner lot and for nearly a decade he served members of the surrounding neighborhoods. Many of them were recent German emigrants like him and found his business a trusted part of the community.
The two driving principles that have characterized OSI Industries can be found from their earliest days. Otto Kolschowsky expanded his business to include wholesale meats and this is the first principle. This happened near the end of World War I and helped his concern grow. His sons joined him in 1928 and from then on they were called Otto & Sons. This new structure powered their results for decades until an important new opportunity came calling. Ray Kroc of McDonald’s had need of a local meat supplier for what would be the first franchise location in Des Plaines, Illinois. In 1955 the two family-owned businesses sealed their agreement with a handshake. Otto & Sons started a historic relationship with a future corporate icon that is recognized the world over.
The tremendous growth that Otto & Sons enjoyed along with McDonald’s showed the remarkable effectiveness of the new franchise model. This was another major expansion and the best example of guiding principle number one. The second principle that the company utilized is in adopting technology to improve operations. To keep pace with McDonald’s growth Otto & Sons adopted early the new procedure of flash freezing. This allowed them to supply burgers to distant franchise locations.
The change from Otto & Sons to OSI Industries happened in 1975 and revealed the changing nature of their business. It was now international in scope and ambition. Sheldon Lavin was an important voice at OSI when he became an executive during the same year. With a foundational partner like McDonald’s already in place, his vision for expansion included developing more key relationships on a global scale. They have continued to use expansion and technology as the main drivers of their business to this day and more