The following article was prepared by Mike Taylor, C.P.M., for distribution to ISM affiliate newsletters
Electronic Records & E-discovery
Does your organization use electronic processes in managing your supply chain business? Do you email contract documents, use email to communicate with management and technical folks, share electronic files with users, store electronic records, post information on the web, keep in touch via smart phones use texting, etc.? I know many organizations that use electronic processes a lot.
The good news is that the electronic files are much easier to search for information than the old paper files. The bad news is that the electronic files are subject to legal discovery proceedings. That is, all the files, in all locations.
What we don’t know about the legal discovery process and issues associated with electronic records (generally referred to as e-discovery) is a liability and a risk. Supply chain managers should be taking the lead to educate themselves and their users on the issues and ways to mitigate the impact of e-discovery.
Here are a few facts and references that might get your attention:
Imagine what it would be like if the next time you are in a dispute with a contractor, the lawyers show up with a discovery order for all electronic records. How would you comply? Could you prove the search located all relevant records, on all computers, network share drives, backup servers, email databases and cloud storage locations? Would personnel understand the meaning of the litigation hold order or would records get “accidentally” (or even criminally) erased?
Here is a link to a general overview presentation on e-discovery and the accompanying reference list with more links like the ones above:
If you don’t recognize the terminology and issues mentioned in the references above, then it’s time to start getting up to speed. Supply Chain managers don’t need a legal degree to know the value of understanding the basic tenets of the law.
In this case we should also recognize that our day-to-day processes are creating a huge electronic target. What we don’t know leaves our organization vulnerable.
Hope it help you prepare,