More Than Just a Pit Stop to Top Up Your Tank

FUEL BUSINESS REINVENTION

More Than Just a Pit Stop to Top Up Your Tank

Co-working spaces may seem like an unusual area for a fuel retail company to be in but with Petronas Dagangan looking to ramp up its non-fuel business, its latest innovation hub called The Place@Ampang is where reinvention will begin.

No longer just a place for refuel, Petronas Dagangan has transformed its Petronas station on Jalan Kolam Air Lama, Ampang to an innovation hub called The Place@Ampang, via a collaboration with co-working space provider Common Ground.

With Petronas Dagangan aiming to increase its non-fuel business to 30 percent (from the current 10 percent), the joint venture will help towards monetising its real estate assets through co-working spaces.

It is also part of the company’s long-term strategy to reinvent its retail business, by bringing more innovation solutions to enhance customer experience.

At the same time, the move is part of Petronas Dagangan’s aim to drive innovation within the company by being closer to the startup community and ecosystem.

“How to get Petronas to be more innovative? Put them in space where they can be more innovative,” says Datuk Seri Syed Zainal Abidin, Managing Director and CEO of Petronas Dagangan.

The bigger picture is to create a culture of innovation. So, Common Ground becomes an enabler for us to build to that in a much faster way

Co-working spaces such as the ones provided by Common Ground are hotspots for startups and entrepreneurs.

“The bigger picture is to create a culture of innovation. So, Common Ground becomes an enabler for us to build to that in a much faster way. If you go to our office at the Twin Towers, it (innovation) might happen but not that fast. I think our dimension and lense will become different (by being here,” he says of The Place.

“If our people can immerse themselves in these sort of environment, they can be more creative. They can be faster in solving the pain point of customers and have better solutions to enhance customer experience.”

Through the partnership, Petronas Dagangan also aims to play a bigger role in supporting local small-medium sized businesses and vendors to be part of its business ecosystem.

“This is where Common Ground will play a central role in connecting us with the rest of the startup community out there, to further explore and create greater innovations,” says Syed Zainal.

The Place@Ampang at Jalan Kolam Air Lama - Photo by Common Ground

Petronas Dagangan is targeting to duplicate similar business model at six other stations, namely in Shah Alam Seksyen 26, Ampang, Setiawangsa, Solaris, Johor Bahru and Langkawi.

Our job today at The Place is to become an incubator, a sandbox where we curate and test our ideas

This collaboration is also a story of diversification for Petronas Dagangan. By ramping up its non-fuel operations, the company aims to strengthen its brand to be more than ‘just another fuel retailer’. Syed Zainal admits that Petronas Dagangan has still a lot of capacity to grow its brand loyalty.

“When people come to our station, traditionally it is to buy fuel or bread, milk and others. But we want to curate an environment for Petronas to become a lifestyle (brand). What it means is that, every real estate that we have, there must be modules to enhance customer experience.”

“For example, people like coffee. We must have a rich offering. Now, when someone wants coffee, they go to Starbucks. But one day, I want to go to Petronas to get my coffee. This can be for other lifestyle areas such as food gourmet, fresh food or fashion too,” Syed Zainal elaborates.

“So, when we understand the dynamics of our customers, our job today at The Place is to become an incubator, a sandbox where we curate and test our ideas."

"Once the ideas are refined, it becomes a proof of concept. Then we can roll out the idea to the rest of our assets.”

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