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Is Your Supply Chain GDPR Compliant?

GDPR infographic

With the May 25 GDPR deadline about a month away, attitudes around the European Union (EU) regulation seem to be shifting. Up until now, the sense of urgency around prepping for the GDPR has been lacking, with a recent Forrester study reporting that only one-third of companies felt they were ready for the regulation. However, as the clock winds down, organizations are realizing the extent to which they need to prepare for the GDPR, as well as the repercussions they could face if they don’t comply in time.

Any U.S. brand with an international supply chain is at risk and must secure any data that flows across country borders. But determining where to start can be daunting and can make risking the fines related to the GDPR seem worth it. With the help of a supply chain partner, however, companies can focus on three goals to improve the transparency of their digital supply chain and get ready for the GDPR deadline.

Identify the flow of personal data

The number one priority for brands preparing for the GDPR is to map out the whereabouts of their personal data. Whether a company is implicated by the GDPR depends on the boundaries of their data landscape, as well the location of their data sources and destinations. Companies need to determine whether the personal information they’re collecting is leaving the U.S. or if they are collecting information from international consumers. Generally assuming where personal data might be, or not be, will not provide strong enough evidence to comply with the GDPR.

Once discovered, brands need to categorize the data based on the information they are allowed to have (anonymized personal data) and the information that requires consumer consent (names, phone numbers, email addresses, etc.). This process can be incredibly time-consuming for brands, especially those without a dedicated IT department. There are many tools on the market today, but for organizations with an e-commerce presence, solutions like financial management services that offer real-time reporting and analysis of information can simplify the cataloging process so brands know exactly what data they’re working with.

Check the IoT in the supply chain

The IoT has introduced new levels of optimization into the modern physical and digital supply chain, from the ability to report on smart device activity to streamlining subscription models. The IoT allows companies to gather information from consumers in real-time, making it easier for brands to leverage personal data to act and sell proactively — whether that’s replenishing products when they’re running low or issuing device updates based on usage.

With the IoT constantly collecting such large quantities of information across a broad network, it’s easy for brands to generate siloed pools of data. This disjointed information becomes problematic for companies that need to report what private data they have gathered from consumers. Even if companies attempt to share this information, they are often only able to discover a subsect of the data that exists across several different pools — disabling them from complying with the GDPR. To accurately provide complete information, brands need a way to reconcile and consolidate information to see the full picture. With many supply chain solution providers developing IoT-management solutions, working with a partner can give brands a leg up.

Manage multiple supplier relationships

Even if brands make sure to get their data ducks in a row, they need to ensure that their suppliers are also on the same page. Because the supply chain comprises a whole network of suppliers and vendors, brands need to ensure that each leg of their system is GDPR compliant. When collaborating with a supply chain partner, brands can allow those partners to manage these relationships. With an abundance of industry expertise, partners can make sure that all relevant supplier contacts include protection against GDPR-related risks to help reduce liability down the line.

When it comes to preparing for the GDPR, the supply chain should not be a brand’s weakest link. By working toward these three goals, brands can take on compliance and achieve data-driven visibility.

To learn more about the value of visibility in the supply chain, download this whitepaper. For more information on how ModusLink’s solutions can help brands comply with the GDPR, visit our solutions page.

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