Innovative Leadership Gives OSI Industries International Expansion Advantages

Leadership Helps OSI Industries Expand Internationally
Leadership Helps OSI Industries Expand Internationally

The OSI Group continues to expand its multi-billion-dollar status in the food manufacturing industry with purchases of other food companies that align well with the company’s own values and goals. As a world leader, OSI provides custom solutions and quality products for food service and retail brands. The company’s productivity last year alone reflects its emphasis on growth with seven new facilities for processing and production around the globe.

Pushing for Growth

David McDonald, OSI Group president, acknowledges the company’s appetite for growth not only in capacity. Its product development offers more to customers, he explains. By partnering with its clients on products that can help them grow their business, OSI encourages its suppliers to help them achieve increased sales. The OSI partnering process gives demanding consumers more ways to “get what they want,” including natural and organic foods as well as the option to select premium specialties versus those that are merely affordable.

The constant variable is that the food is both “healthy and tasty,” McDonald stated. As President, he credits Sheldon Lavin, CEO of OSI Group, with pushing the organization and creating the energy that makes it grow, offer more food choices and become “more significant” to customers. The growth plan for the company allows it to operate in 16 countries outside of the United States.

Finding Expansion Opportunities at Home

OSI paid $7.4 million for a former Tyson Foods plant in Chicago, according to the Chicago Tribune. A spokesman for OSI Industries announced that the 200,000-square-foot facility provides support for “continued business growth.” The company’s line includes beef items such as meatballs and hamburgers, along with hot dogs, bacon and other pork items, as well as poultry and vegetable products. After a little more than a century in business, OSI ranks as one of the world’s largest privately-owned companies, according to Forbes.

Expanding in Europe

With the purchase of Flagship Europe, OSI can provide resources for new clients in global markets for an already successful business. The Flagship Europe line includes a variety of products that range from frozen poultry and pies to sandwich fillings, dips, marinades, sauces and dressings.

OSI President David McDonald stated that the addition of Flagship to OSI Europe creates a “broader presence” on the continent. While it broadens the company’s ability to meet the “evolving needs” of its customers, it complements the current processing strengths of OSI.

Baho Food, a Dutch manufacturer of convenience foods, snacks and deli meats has joined OSI, further expanding the company’s presence in Europe. The five Baho subsidiaries have processing plants in Germany as well as the Netherlands, serving 18 European countries. Baho brings its managing director as well as its line managers to OSI in the transaction to work with executives in developing a growth strategy that can advance the newly combined companies. Officials tout the deal for its potential to accelerate growth and reach new customers with a “broader product portfolio.”

Focusing on Global Growth

While maintaining its headquarters in Aurora, Ill., OSI recognizes that global companies are “local in nature” and cannot run a “one-size-fits-all” business. A corporate decision to expand to China in 1992 enforced that world view. Local businesses can cope with government regulations and cultural differences as well as customers’ taste preferences better than an operation half a world away, according to the philosophy of David McDonald, president of OSI Group. The company views its position as a global leader as one that runs a large-scale operation but maintains local management teams who “understand local cultures and tastes.”

Recognizing a Powerful Influence

As the energy force behind OSI’s growth and expansion, Sheldon Lavin, CEO of OSI Group has an academic background in finance and accounting that inspired him to pursue owning a business. As a financial consultant who arranged the Kolschowsky family’s first meat processing facility, he got to know Otto and his sons, the “O” and “S” in the business that Lavin now owns. His vision for the company was to make it a “world class enterprise.”

He stated that innovation was always in his DNA, but it got a boost from his work at OSI. With a goal of making it an entrepreneurial company, he wanted it to avoid sending dictates from top management. By designing it to operate as a family, he established a culture that was the best way for his company to do business. The result of his innovative management style is more than 65 facilities in 17 countries and the production of primarily protein products and some vegetable items, sauces and baked goods.


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