Photos & Videos are very important Data that need to be cared for like any other vital enterprise data such as Purchase Order, Sales Order, Item Master etc.

Photos & Videos are very important Data that need to be cared for like any other vital enterprise data such as Purchase Order, Sales Order, Item Master etc.

Photos & Videos are very important Data that need to be cared for like any other vital enterprise data such as Purchase Order, Sales Order, Item Master etc.

Data is the new oil of the Digital economy. It has been said that data in the twenty-first century is like oil in the eighteenth century. I don’t agree with this 100%. Like oil, data has to be refined before it is used, and it’s only as valuable as the insights that are drawn from it. Further, oil is a limited commodity, and we all know that the deluge of data is getting bigger every day. And with the proliferation of sensors everywhere, especially in mobile devices, it is much easier to gather data from business operations and also get much better insights from it.

We are data rich, but information poor, this is changing with the rise of AI, ML and the cost of computing power going down significantly experts are able to run several analytics models and cull out some deep insights from the data that is available.

According to a McKinsey Report [1]photos-videos

  1. Companies have managed to generate 20% of their revenue from Data and Analytics products and services
  2. Data experts are getting a seat in the C suite
  3. Companies are incorporating something called “Data Culture”, adapting a Data and Analytics basis for all the functions in the organization, not just for decision making, but making data and analytics an integral part of everything of an organization,
  4. Above all, the high performers indicate that their leaders are creating both data and analytics strategies for the long haul. Meaning these organizations are making data a core part of employees’ workflows and mind-sets by educating them as part of a broader effort to build a strong data-driven culture. All the while, they are ensuring that high- quality data and modern technological foundations are in place to support these efforts at scale.

The Power of Photo and Video data

Now let us revisit the power of data in the current context, which is adding this Centralized Enterprise Class Photo & Video Documentation System for your Supply Chain. There are a lot of things that can be done with this data in the form of photos and videos.

One important application is this capability called Smart Contracts in the Block Chain arena, where ownership and payments to the service providers are automatically triggered based on receipt of the merchandise at a certain point in its journey. In a Supply Chain when a load is shipped, it could get transported by multiple parties (for example let us take an international multimodal shipment, where a container full of manufactured and assembled goods is shipped from a distribution center, then it gets transported from the DC to the departing port by a truck, then it gets transported from the departing port to the destination port in a Ship, then from the destination port to a hub near the destination through rail and finally from that destination hub to the final destination distribution center through another truck) that own the product based on the points where the hand off happens. During this journey different parties owned the goods and the ownership transferred and different parties have different insurance companies whom they insured the shipment with, which needs to be part of the smart contract and also once these parties complete their leg of the whole journey they could get automatically paid, by uploading the photo proof with data elements such as the end user that made the hand off, the end user’s driver’s license proof, along with that the date stamp, the time stamp, if it is a perishable or a produce merchandise, then possibly the temperature, then also the GPS coordinates where the hand off occurred, these companies that offer this service would love this opportunity to automate this step because that would help them get paid faster, which means better cash flow situation for their organizations and also some efficiency induced in the whole process to get paid.

Also, if there is an exception that was reported, automatically provide all these photos that were taken at the hand off points of the other legs of the whole journey to other parties or the insurance companies involved in the Supply Chain community, so the exception can be quickly addressed, and the concerned parties are compensated accordingly.

Also, during this pandemic, we saw how useful the no touch bill of lading was. A bill of lading or a shipping manifest is a legal document that is required by every transportation service provider, a truck or a carrier to carry it along with them to demonstrate to a law enforcement officer that they are hauling a merchandise that is legally allowed, or if it is a controlled substance they do have all the relevant documentation like a Drug Enforcement Administration certificate or anything else, the problem is this was always a paper document, that the truck drivers need to carry it along with them until the transportation is complete and also attach it to a proof of delivery document with the signature of the recipient. Now with this being paper, with them carrying around in their hands, was spreading the Covid 19 virus, so it made sense to carry it electronically and share it as well as get it signed on a no touch basis wither by emailing and or texting to perform all those steps. So, at that time sharing these documents as photos was quite useful.

The other area where these photographs, videos and documents are useful are for better Supply Chain Visibility. By reading the contents of the different documents along with the context and along with the GPS coordinates and the actors that are taking the photos several insights can be obtained on the on-time delivery of the shipments, missed appointments, even traffic patterns around the area where the delivery needs to happen and this whole repository can act as a massive reservoir of data, where even status of purchase orders can be inferred. These data will be highly useful in case of an exception that occurred due to some kind of an outage of a specific service that is essential for a normal functioning of the Supply Chain. Also now running AI and ML models on this data with additional information such as weather at that location at that time, interruptions to Supply Chains can be forecasted, against which operators within those Supply Chains can be better prepared to address any exceptions that might arise.

So now realizing all these opportunities, the organizations that are currently installing systems and infrastructure to house such a data repository need to include these photographs and videos within their data architecture so that they can nicely leverage the opportunities available with such a system and also can integrate with the other systems in order to maximize this data culture-based approach.


Puga Sankara is the co-founder of Smart Gladiator LLC. Smart Gladiator designs, builds, and delivers market-leading mobile technology for retailers, distributors, and 3PL service providers. SG LoadProof is a patent pending Centralized Enterprise Photo/Video Document System on Cloud for Supply Chain. SG LP is built on the fact that photos & videos are vital docs as important as POs/SOs/Legal Contracts/Fulfillment Orders that reside in ERP/WMS/TMS systems, that serve as compelling, conclusive, unequivocal proof of crucial, critical, vital operations executed in Supply Chain within/across orgs when fulfilling customer orders as well as meeting contractual obligations between orgs as merchandise is transferred between different parties that partake in Supply Chain functions & operations. And these photos/videos data should not be stored in someone’s Smartphone or Email Inbox or in their personal/work Computer, but should be stored in a Centralized Enterprise system, where such data can be pushed into super-fast, stored securely, accessible to all stake holders (CFO/Sales Reps/Customer Support/AR/AP) in an org, as well as facilitates super-fast retrieval/sharing. LP is an Enterprise System of record for Photo/Video docs & is as important as an ERP which is an enterprise system of record for POs, SOs, Legal Contracts between parties etc. that have huge legal ramifications, also as important as a WMS (Warehouse Management System) that hold indispensable shipment & fulfillment data on orders. Like how Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat etc. have evolved into social media platforms/systems that enable individuals to showcase their beauty/pretty clothes/lovely cosmetics/hep coolness etc., LoadProof is an Enterprise system that holds similar photos/videos, but for a different reason, not for show off, but to serve as compelling, conclusive, unequivocal & indisputable system of record and proof that can be presented even in the court of law, when there is a dispute between parties while they execute many facets of the Supply Chain functions & operations. Puga is a supply chain technology professional with more than 25 years of experience in deploying capabilities in the logistics and supply chain domain. His prior roles involved managing complicated mission-critical programs driving revenue numbers, rolling out a multitude of capabilities involving more than a dozen systems, and managing a team of 30 to 50 personnel across multiple disciplines and departments in large corporations such as Hewlett Packard. He has deployed WMS for more than 30 distribution centers in his role as a senior manager with Manhattan Associates. He has also performed process analysis walk-throughs for more than 50 distribution centers for WMS process design and performance analysis review, optimizing processes for better productivity and visibility through the supply chain. Size of these DCs varied from 150,000 to 1.2 million SQFT. Puga Sankara has an MBA from Georgia Tech. He can be reached at [email protected] or visit the company at Also follow him at