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Balaji Iyer

Partner, Detroit
Advises industrial and automotive clients on topics related to material cost optimization, operations improvement, business building, and strategy

About Balaji

Balaji works in the industrial and automotive sectors. He has served clients across Germany, India, Japan, and the United States and across the automotive and machinery value chain, including original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), suppliers, distributors, and after-market providers. With deep expertise leading operations transformations and driving margin improvement, specifically in product development and procurement, Balaji is committed to ensuring that transformation initiatives have sustainable impact. He is equally committed to helping clients respond to industry disruption and anticipate new business and growth opportunities.

Recent examples of Balaji’s client work include the following:

  • helping multiple auto-component, auto-OEM, and industrial-machinery manufacturers optimize direct materials cost by approximately 10 percent of spend
  • supporting multiple auto-component manufacturers on margin transformations with impact worth approximately 6 percent of revenues
  • building a new digital solutions business for an automotive-vehicle manufacturer
  • helping auto-component and tire companies with an after-market transformation that delivered approximately 25 percent compound annual growth rate for three years and margin impact worth approximately 5 percent of revenues
  • codeveloping an electric-vehicle strategy with automotive-vehicle manufacturers
  • developing a five-year strategy for an after-market solutions provider to drive five to six times more revenue and six to seven times more net profit in five years
  • improving on-time in-full to 95 percent with a steel maker
  • advising automotive- and industrial-product manufacturers on a growth and new business strategy, that also addressed autonomous driving, connectivity, electrification, and shared mobility (ACES) trends
  • supporting an auto-component manufacturer in reducing inventory by 20 to 30percent in a growth environment.

Balaji relocated to McKinsey Detroit’s office in 2019, after spending many years in Chennai and one year in our Chicago office. He began his career as an engineer focused on cost and product quality. The author of several white papers on the automotive sector, he has been a frequent speaker at various industry forums in India, including the Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India’s Global Summits and the Chennai regional event of the Confederation of Indian Industry.

Outside of work and family, Balaji likes to spend his energy and time improving access to education for the underprivileged and helping individuals develop their leadership skills.

Published work

The auto component industry in India: Preparing for the future,” McKinsey & Company, September 2018

The future of mobility in Indias passenger vehicle market,” McKinsey & Company, July 2018

The future of mobility in India: Challenges & opportunities for the auto component industry,” McKinsey & Company, September 2017

Winning with quality and innovation,” Automotive Component Manufacturers Association (ACMA) of India, August 2016

Make in India’ – Making it happen,” Automotive Component Manufacturers Association (ACMA) of India, September 2015

Next generation supply chain: Supply chain 2020,” McKinsey & Company, July 2013

Past experience

Whirlpool Corporation
Senior engineer


Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad

College of Engineering, Guindy, Anna University
BEng, electrical and electronics engineering