OSI Group is a leading food provider globally. With 20,000 employees in 17 countries and over 60 facilities. The company was founded by Otto Kolschowsky in German-immigrant community in Chicago. The immigration boom made the city a center of industry and was referred to as “Hog Butcher for the World, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat … City of the Big Shoulders,” in 1914. He started as a small meat market and butcher shop for the local community but within a decade he had expanded into wholesale and moving to a larger operations center in Chicago.For decades the business, now named Otto & Sons continued providing stable and reliable food for the local community.
The end of World War 2 created a boom of community development and a informal agreement between Otto and Ray Kroc (the franchise manager of McDonald’s) symbiotically bonded them as a meat supplier to McDonald’s. Over the next two decades OSI Group transitioned from a regional supplier to a global corporation. This change pressured Otto & Sons to produce a more consistent and affordable product that could be sent long-distances to supply the increasing number of McDonald’s restaurants.
OSI Group became one of McDonald’s four main suppliers and the 1960’s and opened a new plant to deal exclusively with the ever-growing chain. Otto & Sons also transitioned into OSI Industries to show the transition from a local butcher to a company operating on a national and international scale. Over the next few years they concentrated it’s manufacturing capabilities and expanded into Germany and Spain. The company also had to recruit new skilled leaders to handle the complicated international supply lines and production.
The international growth led to OSI Group being ranked at 58 in the 2016 Forbes list of largest private companies after reaching sales of $6.1 billion. OSI reached it’s position with a series of expansions and joint ventures in the Americas, Europe, and the Pacific that exemplified the company’s growth around the 1990s. This was followed by expansion into the Asian market, followed by Oceania, India, and expansion of their U.S. facilities. The last decade has seen OSI become the leader of protein-based products and continual expansion of their facilities at home and abroad, but always maintaining a presence in the city where they were founded nearly a century earlier and more
OSI’s recent focus has been it’s Europe-based facilities and expanding their “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)”-certified facility. They’ve also worked to aquire other food suppliers to consolidate their growth and help maintain a consistent product for their customers. This also allowed them to expand their product lines to include salsa, beans, and tofu products. The growth of OSI Group has always been linked to a focus on R&D to provide cutting-edge service and this is still true with the founding of three research centers since 2010. Their leadership believes in close customer ties like their close work with the McDonald’s franchise because it allows them to provide what their customers need more effectively. With the the company’s long history, their focus on sustainability, innovation, and the environmental impacts of food production has won them awards and led them from a small local shop to an international leader of food supplies.