Saif Benjaafar’s current research focus is on sustainable operations and innovative business models, including online platforms and marketplaces, sharing economy and on-demand services, and smart city operations.
He is an internationally renowned leader in the field of operations management and supply chains, working at the intersection of operations research, economics, and public policy. Benjaafar has published groundbreaking research that investigates how complex and global supply chains should be designed and managed. His work on sustainable operations introduced innovative ideas for reducing the environmental footprint of supply chains. Benjaafar's work on collaborative consumption and on-demand service platforms is among the first to lay out the foundation for the economic and environmental analysis of the sharing economy.
He is a University of Minnesota McKnight Presidential Endowed Professor (one of the highest recognitions for a faculty member at the University of Minnesota) and Distinguished McKnight University Professor. Benjaafar is head of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. He is director of the Initiative on the Sharing Economy, a university-wide initiative with participation from faculty in management, engineering, public policy, industrial ecology, and law. He is also professor of industrial and systems engineering, senior faculty scholar at the Center for Transportation Studies, and fellow of the Institute on the Environment. Benjaafar was the founding Head of Pillar (at the rank of dean) for Engineering Systems and Design at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD), a new university established in collaboration with MIT. He was also founding director of the program in industrial and systems engineering, which he led through a transformation from a small graduate program into a full-fledged department.
He was a distinguished senior visiting scientist at Honeywell Laboratories and a visiting professor at universities in France, Belgium, Hong Kong, China, and Singapore. He is the editor in chief of the INFORMS journal Service Science. He is a fellow of INFORMS (the Institute of Operations Research and Management Science) and of IISE (Institute of Industrial and Systems Engineers).
His papers have been published in leading journals including Management Science, OR, and MSOM. His research has been funded by NSF, DOT, DHS, and DARPA in the US and by NRF and MOE in Singapore. His research work and teaching have been recognized by numerous awards, including the Harold Kuhn Award, the MSOM Best Paper Award, the MSOM Service SIG Best Paper Award, the George Taylor Distinguished Teaching Award, and the INFORMS Distinguished Service Award, among others. He has consulted widely with leading companies and organizations such as Honeywell, General Mills, 3M, and the World Bank, among many others. He is a member of the Board of Directors of Hourcar (a social car-sharing organization) and served on Technology Advisory Board of the Keppel Corporation. His work was featured by major news outlets in the US, Asia, and Europe.
Benjaafar holds PhD and MS degrees from Purdue University and a BS degree from the University of Texas at Austin.