If you are a business owner, the European Union’s new General Data Protection Regulation legislation may affect your supply chain. All companies processing personal data for those residing within the EU must comply to the GDPR – regardless of company location. In the following article, we’ll outline how GDPR may affect your supply chain and how to ensure your business is compliant while guarding against disruptions in the supply chain.
What is GDPR?
The purpose of the GDPR is to protect EU citizens from organisations using their data irresponsibly, putting them in charge of what information is shared, where and how. Ultimately, the goal of the GDPR is to unify all EU member states’ approaches to data regulation, ensuring all data protection laws are applied identically in every country within the EU.
Who Will It Affect?
The GDPR will not only affect the supply chain of tech businesses whose main purposes are to manage digital information and data – although these companies will likely be affected more intensely. In fact, since most businesses these days rely on the collection of personal data, almost all businesses with sales across the EU will be affected.
From outsourced payroll and marketing services to medical insurance providers, many companies’ supply chains will be affected by the GDPR and business owners need to be prepared.
Managing Your Supply Chain
Especially as your company grows, you will find yourself with a more and more complicated supply chain. From outsourcing marketing campaigns, to sourcing materials internationally and managing customer information, at every point along your supply chain there may be some form of data gathered which will need protection in compliance with the GDPR.
To ensure you are compliant with the new data regulations, you need to begin by mapping your supply chain and identifying each point which entails the collection of “personal” data. Personal data includes a person’s name, address, and photos. It can also mean IP addresses, genetic data, and biometric data which can be processed to uniquely identify an individual.
Once you have identified the sources of risk along your supply chain, you should ensure that the data gathered is protected in line with the GDPR. This will involve working with any suppliers to ensure that they are also adhering to the new regulations.
For existing suppliers, you will need to update their contract to reflect the GDPR following a full review of the current distributed data to ensure they only have access to appropriate information. For example, it’s unlikely that a marketing company coordinating email campaigns will need the date of birth or bank details of your customers.
For new suppliers, the contract must outline precisely what data will be shared, what it can be used for, how long it can be kept and what will happen to it at the end of the contract.
By ensuring you are complying with the GDPR at each stage of your supply chain in this way, you will not only avoid the large fines that come with non-compliance, but also be able to present potential customers with another reason to choose your business over other, less prepared competitors.