How has GDPR affected UK manufacturers?

Posted on 22 Jul 2019 by Jonny Williamson

Manufacturers have struggled to handle an increase in personal data access requests since the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force, new research has found.

95% of European businesses are not ready for the General Data Protection (GDPR) - image courtesy of Depositphotos.
One-in-ten (10%) manufacturers have experienced an increase of more than 50% in the volume of personal data access requests – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

The research, conducted following the first anniversary of the GDPR, showed that three-quarters of manufacturers (75%) have seen an increase in data access requests from customers and their own employees in the 12 months following the GDPR’s introduction in May 2018.

One-in-ten (10%) manufacturers experienced an increase of more than 50% in the volume of requests, according to the study conducted by business process outsourcer Parseq.

The vast majority of firms (92%) who experienced an increase in requests reported that they’d found effectively responding to them challenging, citing complexity (58%) and cost (58%) as the biggest obstacles.

A third of businesses (33%) that had experienced an increase in data access requests cited their reliance on paper documentation as a barrier.

Under the GDPR, individuals can submit a data access request free of charge to receive a copy of personal data that organisations hold on them, along with information on factors such as why their personal data is being used.

In general, the GDPR requires that organisations must respond to such data access requests within one month.

Barriers to bytes

The research also examined the efforts that manufacturers made to digitise paper documentation containing employee and customer data in the 12 months before and after May 2018.

Improving data privacy and complying with the GDPR was the biggest driver of digitisation in the year before (67%) and after (56%) May 2018.

However, only 8% of respondents digitised all the paper documentation they held in the year prior to the GDPR’s introduction. This rose to 12% in the 12 months following.

Manufacturers that didn’t digitise all of their paper documentation containing customer and employee information in the year before the GDPR came into force cited the maintenance of archiving facilities to store paper documents (47%) and cost (45%) as the biggest barriers.

Following the GDPR’s implementation, cost (47%) and the maintenance of archiving facilities (42%) were also the biggest barriers, followed closely by a lack of staff resource (39%).