Sheldon Lavin joined the meat processing industry 43 years ago as a financial advisor to Otto and Sons, the predecessor to OSI Group. However, in the last four decades he has played a pivotal role in transforming the small company into a leading corporation in the competitive processed foods industry.
Lavin first came in contact with Otto & Sons in 1970. The small Chicago-based company was the provider of processed meat products to McDonald’s Corporation. Its main products to the food chain retailer were hamburgers. McDonald’s appreciated the quality of Lavin’s services, thus encouraging Otto & Sons to enlist his services. This strategic move completely transformed the company. After becoming one of the partners of the company, he began working on a plan to ensure that the company established a global network of processing facilities. Owing to his business acumen, the company managed to grow and increase its client base. When Otto retired from the company, Lavin became the third partner in the business. Connect linkedin to see Sheldon Lavin’s full profile.
Sheldon continued to use his extensive knowledge and experience in the financial industry to ensure Otto & Sons had adequate funds to run its operations smoothly. With an eye focused on the global market, the company changed its name from Otto & Sons to OSI Group. This move helped both OSI and McDonald’s to grow together and dominate the market.
Sheldon Lavin has channeled his efforts towards transforming OSI from a small Chicago-based meat supplier to a global brand with dozens of facilities spread across the globe. The company’s staff base has also increased to over 20,000 individuals.
Presently, Sheldon has full control of the company. He gained this control after Otto’s sons sold their shares to him. Sheldon, who is 81-years-old, continues to serve at the company as its chief executive officer. Despite of his age, the executive remains one of the most visionary CEOs globally. Sheldon continues to push for further expansion of the company irrespective of already having over 70 facilities under its umbrella. Particularly, he focuses on the Chinese market, as he believes it has what it takes to improve the company’s profitability margins. Besides having operations in Europe, US, and China, OSI runs its facilities in India, South America, Australia, and Philippines.
Sheldon Lavin has received several awards for his contributions at OSI Group. In 2016, India’s Vision World Academy awarded him with the Global Visionary Award. The executive leader is also an active contributor to various charities, including Evans Scholarship Fund, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and the Inner City Foundation of Chicago.
How does OSI Group McDonalds make its world famous burgers? This is a question that has been in the minds of not only burger fanatics but also these brand customers. There has been a lot of critics calling out the company for hiding its food-making processes despite their high market command. Some critics have even insinuated that this leading fast food franchise goes heavy on additives and preservatives on its offerings. Recently, the company welcomed the media into its largest factory in Europe, the Gunzburg factory in Germany. This was in an effort to lay bare how it makes its hamburgers and squash the critics.
From beef to burger patties
The Gunzburg factory produces about 5 million hamburgers every day. To make this possible it takes lots of meat from slaughterhouses around the area. According to Eunice Koekkoek, the OSI Group McDonalds representative, the meet is received as large chunks. This means that the chances of it getting contaminated by bacteria or other foreign objects are significantly reduced. Additionally, the beef is then passed in an x-ray inspector so that it can detect any large bones or metal pieces that are in the meat. The machines at the Gunzburg factory are kept at very low temperatures. It is easy to spot the ice forming on top of the machines. Eunice pointed out that the extreme cold prevents bacteria from mushrooming inside the machines. The meat is then minced, and send to the patties-making machine where it is mixed with frozen beef. The OSI Group McDonalds uses this technique of mixing fresh and frozen meat technique to make sure that their burger patties can hold together for long.
From the factory to the restaurant
Eunice Koekkoek mentioned that the company takes a lot of keen steps to make sure that their hamburgers get to the restaurant from the factory in their best quality products. It is for this reason that the distribution center for this Gunzburg factory is next door. OSI Group McDonalds labels all its boxes with details on when and where it was made. This allows the restaurants to keep track of the freshness of their burger stocks easily. Click here.
Sheldon Lavin pursued an education in accounting and finance in preparation for a career in the finance world. Upon graduation, he ventured into financial consulting where he interacted with the Kolschowsky family which owned a meat processing facility called Otto & Sons. Following several interactions with the food processor, he finally became the owner of the business, fulfilling his dream of owning a business. The food processor rebranded into the OSI Group. Sheldon is the current Chairman of the board and the CEO of the company. From the very start, his business vision was to grow the OSI Group into a world-class food processing company. In this, he has succeeded. The food processor currently operates in 17 countries with 70 facilities across the globe. Additionally, it has expanded its consumer products to cover protein products, sauces, vegetable items, and baked goods.
The global expansion of the OSI Group has taken hard work on the part of Sheldon Lavin. To begin with, he has cautiously cultivated a family culture at the company. As such, people working at the firm are identified with their first name. At work, people call him either Shelly or Sheldon. Additionally, everyone at the company’s corporate office comes together for lunch. This has nurtured an open system of communication unlike the situation in other companies as big as the OSI Group. Sheldon Lavin has always been innovative. Given he is also a good listener and his office is usually open to all, the OSI Group enjoys a significant amount of innovation. With his entrepreneurial spirit he has worked hard to nurture over the years at all levels of the company, it comes as no surprise that the food processor is quickly dominating the global industry.
Most companies run on dictates from the top. At the OSI Group, however, Sheldon has put in place rules, strategies, and budgetary limits to be followed allowing company staff to put their entrepreneurial spirit to work. In addition to business, Sheldon Lavin is very passionate about giving back to the community. As such he encourages all at his own company to be charitable within their means. He has also fostered a culture of giving back to all the communities where the OSI Group conducts its operations. Moving forward, Sheldon knows he will eventually retire from the company. However, the future of the company is in good hands since there is a wealth of talent at the food processor. Additionally, he hopes it maintains its profitability while taking its place as a global leader in the food industry.
When it comes to the production of foods on a global level, few companies can outperform OSI Industries. On the other hand, OSI Industries is one of the most vital food providers on the planet today. Would you believe that this company has been around for over 100 years? Yes, this is absolutely correct as OSI first got its start back in 1909. The Chicagoland area was its main stomping ground back in the old days. Fortunately, OSI switched from being a small meat market into being a wholesaler of foods. This transition sparked tremendous amounts of growth in which the company had to change headquarters a few times.
As of 2019, OSI Industriesis headquartered in Aurora, Illinois, but the company actually got its start in Oak Park, Illinois. The strength of this phenomenal organization is that it has evolved with the times. As the old saying goes, “if a shark stops swimming, then it will die.” This notion rings true on so many levels as OSI has adapted to meet the world’s demand for a wide variety of foods. Business acquisitions and joint ventures have been golden for this organization. Joint ventures has been a lifeline to some degree thanks to acquiring stake in food processing facilities, farms and warehouses.
This is certainly a full-time job that’s made of administrators, executives, forklift operators, general laborers, best food specialists and many other professionals. OSI Industries is no longer a standard supplier of food. More than 20,000 individuals earn a good living with this organization, and OSI is always on the lookout for ambitious-minded people. What more could anyone ever ask for from a global supplier of food? OSI Industries has basically raised the bar extremely high while changing the current status quo.
For OSI Group, terms like environmental management, sustainability and workplace safety are more than just popular buzzwords designed make a company look good. OSI facilities around the world engage in regular and rigorous training programs to bolster these basic principles.
A recent example is the OSI Group plant in Enns, Austria. The entire facility shut down for a day in October to conduct a workplace safety and environmental awareness day. Work teams are formed to undergo intensive training seminars and work through specific modules that bolster sound environmental practices while also focusing on safety factors.
Some of the activities include fire extinguisher training and role playing fire brigade protocols. A general lecture is given on fire prevention. Information is provided about what to do if any kind of fire breaks out, including taking action to control a blaze or how to efficiently evacuate. Visit linkedin.com
Adopting highly specific workplace safety protocols not only makes accidents less likely, but less severe if they do happen. A safe work environment is also a happy work environment. Employees are more comfortable at work if they are confident in their operating space.
OSI Group owns two other facilities in Austria in addition to its plant in Enns, a small city in northern Austria with just over 11,000 residents. The OSI Group world headquarters is located in Aurora, Illinois. The company originated in the greater Chicago area more than 100 years ago. Today, OSI spans the globe with 65 robust operations functioning in 17 nations. The company employs some 20,000 people worldwide.
A hallmark of OSI is its commitment to stringent environmental management practices designed to leave behind the smallest carbon footprint possible. To that end, the company is moving aggressively to adopt solar and wind power. It also innovates by capturing rainfall, recycling gray water, using low-flow faucets and extensive use of superior insulation — to name just a few practices.
Environmental management and safety go hand in hand. Food processing is a naturally energy intensive process and also involves the use of a lot of machinery, and frankly , sharp objects. Good training is the key to keeping accidents to a minimum.