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CIO50 2021 #1: Mandy Simpson, Z Energy

  • Name Mandy Simpson
  • Title Chief Digital Officer
  • Company Z Energy
  • Commenced role February 2019
  • Reporting Line CEO
  • Member of the Executive Team Yes
  • Technology Function 125 staff, five direct reports
  • In the past two years Mandy Simpson, has led Z Energy’s technology team in early experiences with new payment technologies, using them to create an integrated payment offering. In addition to customers being able to pay for fuel in store and at the pump, they now have the following options.

    Pay by plate – a system that uses automated number plate recognition and charges the registered card automatically. In late 2020 this was scaled to more than 60 sites nationwide.

    Pay in app – customers select the pump number in an app and pay automatically with a registered card.

    Sharetank – a virtual fuel tank on the phone. Customers fill the virtual tank at the best Z price within a 30km radius. Redeem their virtual tank at any Z station, or share their balance with up to five friends and family. To the best of Z Energy’s knowledge Sharetank is unique worldwide.

    Carbon Count – customers can see their carbon emissions each time they fill up, and offset them through local permanent forests.

    Pre-Order Coffee – pre order was in trial ahead of the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, and proved to be incredibly popular as the country reopened. Cold drinks were added last summer.

    Customer led innovation

    Simpson says the payment options are driven by customer demand. Z Energy studies customers on site to understand any difficulties they have. They also conduct surveys and trials and ask customers about their concerns. For example, Sharetank came from the insight that customers were travelling sometimes quite large distances to get the cheapest price.

    In addition to providing options for customers, the payment mechanisms collectively provide a wealth of data for Z. In the past two years they’ve created a unified customer data set, and begun targeting offers at specific points in the customer journey (e.g. a free coffee or pie or a cents per litre discount). Controlled testing is steadily increasing the efficacy of these offers.

    “Payment mechanisms are a bridge to our future. Our first electric vehicle chargers will shortly go onto our new Rolleston site. Integrated payment and data collection is key to the success of these. Plus Sharetank is supporting our early experiments in the retail electricity market where Z Electric offers you 5 litres of fuel for every $100 of electricity spend,” Simpson says.

    Simpson says she is part of a collaborative executive team that is “prepared to listen, to learn and to debate.”

    “To influence Z’s technology direction I rely heavily on direct, in-person communication.  Initially that was just me, but increasingly my digital leadership team are taking on that role, dramatically increasing our influence,” she says.

    Her current projects include the following: 

    ·      Setting the direction for Z’s clean energy initiatives and explore Z’s future pathways with the GM, Strategy.

    ·      Working on retail store improvements as well as experiments in the EV charging space, with the GM, Retail.

    ·      Working on ensuring great and consistent employee experiences, with the Chief People Officer.

    Finally, following the announcement of the transition of the New Zealand Refinery to an import-only terminal, Simpson is working with Z Energy's GM, Supply to ensure "we have world-class demand forecasting and ship scheduling tools."

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