“For success, the whole team needs to achieve the business goals” –CEO Q&A: Michael Murphy, RIVVAL

By Business & Finance
08 January 2020
Pictured: Michael Murphy, CEO, Rivval.

In this week’s CEO Q&A, Michael Murphy, CEO, RIVVAL, a dedicated Engineering, Supplies & Project Company working in the Rail Industry, tells Business & Finance how his Local Enterprise Office has helped him achieve business goals.

Q. What are your main priorities and goals in your role?

The main priorities are based on being forward-focused, setting targets and objectives for the short, medium and the long-term for the continuous development of the business. The main goal is to ensure the delivery of established targets and objectives.

Q. What are your biggest challenges as CEO?

There are many and they keep changing depending on the market and industry needs. However, the main ones include:

  • Finding Growth
  • Taking on Risk
  • Leveraging and Pursuing Technology.

Q. How do you keep your team/ staff motivated?

Being an SME, we like to ensure that there’s good communication among the team. Making a pleasant and safe environment to work is essential and we also look to offer as many opportunities as possible for self-development.

Q. What are the challenges facing the industry going forward?

Undoubtably the main challenge to us is the outcome of the UK-EU Brexit arrangement. Changes in any Customs and trading arrangements will have a real impact in how the business trades. 

Q. What new trends are emerging in your industry?

The industry has seen a large amount of consolidation over the last few years and as corporations grow it places pressure on SMEs being able to compete. Also, digitalisation and market entry costs are going to have a huge impact.

Q. Are there any major changes you would like to see in your sector?

The industry is very much project driven and has incredible peaks and troughs, good long-term investment planning would have a dramatic effect on the industry and improve efficiency. 

Q. As an employer are you finding any skill gaps in the market?

There is a skill shortage in Design and Engineering areas.

Q. How did your strategy develop in the context of the banking crisis and economic crisis?

Prudent management and diversification into other areas within the Rail industry allowed us to generally survive the most significant period of crisis. It was necessary to hold back on some of the development plans in place at the time but the most of these have now been implemented as we await an upturn in the industry activity.

Q. How will Brexit affect you, or have you started to feel the effects already?

Our approach has been to prepare as much as possible within the investment constraints of a SME business. We look on our business model as a lean enterprise and for a small SME to undertake full protection against all the Brexit contingencies would require duplication which is not in the best interests of the business. 

Our concerns are still high but until we actually know what the operating parameters will be, after Brexit, we can only hope we have covered as many requirements as possible.

Local Enterprise Office Monaghan has provided great assistance and the company has availed of several Brexit support programmes including the ‘Prepare your Business for Customs’ workshop, and the IIFA Customs Clearance and Practical SAD documents completion course (the latter being a six-week course with the attendee receiving a certificate in Customs clearance).

Q. How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?

For me, success is about doing the job well and the company being identified as a key stakeholder within the industry supply chain. The vision is for the company to be identified as the first partner/ supplier of choice within the industry. It’s also based on the work of the team. For success, the whole team needs to achieve the business goals.

Q. What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?

Say ‘Yes’ and make it happen.

Q. What have been your highlights in business over the past year?

Being a finalist and a Regional winner in the Local Enterprise Offices’ National Enterprise Awards 2019 was a major achievement for the company. It meant a huge amount to us as we saw it as an acknowledgement, by a panel of business experts, that our business management, operations, plans and objectives are in the top tier of Irish SMEs. 

Q. What’s next for your company?

The company has a philosophy of continuous improvement. We’ll continue to look at the expansion and investment in further manufacturing activity. In addition, we’re keen to develop products for the wider Rail industry beyond our core markets of Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK.

Q. Where do you want your business/brand to be this time next year?

We would like to double our business into the UK mainland market and have added another internally designed product to our portfolio.

Michael Murphy is an ambassador for Local Enterprise Office’s Local Enterprise Week 2020, which  takes place from March 2nd-6th, with 300 events taking place nationwide across 31 LEOs. For more information see