To see a demonstration of a Voice Signature to accept a delivery, click here.

In many places, a man's word has the worth of gold. Sadly, this is not so in today's litigation-prone construction environment.

As producers know, the customer's authorized agent must sign each delivery receipt. On many large projects, hundreds of receipts must be managed to ensure proper billing and collection.

Along with the challenges of managing receipts, producers also face the problem of reconciliation. The agent's signature can be very difficult to read. An employee who is charged with approving receipts could be laid off or transferred to another location when a question occurs. And if an unsigned ticket is discovered during the pre-billing process, there's the challenge of asking the customer to accept the delivery.

Ours is not the only industry which has been slowed by the need for pen and paper. In the last few years, there's been a movement in the financial community to use voice recognition as a tool to complete a legal transaction. Credit card companies, real estate agents, and banks have been looking for safe tools to provide their clients the convenience of approving a sound business decision without a pen.

One of these new technologies is the Voice Signature Service (VSS), developed by Trade Harbor, a St. Louis-based software developer. This Web-based service enables sellers and buyers to complete a legal transaction by voice. VSS can be integrated into any producer's telephone or Web platforms.

How it works

Producers that sign up for VSS ask their contractor-customers to select pre-approved employees to serve as their agents in accepting a delivery. Using a specially developed voice recognition software program, Trade Harbor records and stores these employees' voice patterns in its database.

“The VSS system requires more than just a sound recording to complete the deal,” says John Hanpeter, Trade Harbor's vice president and chief operating officer. The approval software meshes three forms of voice technologies— voice verification, automatic speech recognition, and a self-developed voice user interface—and user dialogue to create a secure and cost-effective method to verify identities.

The VSS software incorporates necessary accounting and banking elements to create a legally binding transaction and meet the various regulatory requirements. “Our system provides strong authentication, explicit authorization, and an audit trail for remote transactions through the capture and biometric analysis of voice recordings,” says Hanpeter.

Recognizing the problems in this industry, Trade Harbor is introducing VSS to construction. “VSS can streamline many aspects of the approval process, including accepting delivery receipts, approving change order requests, and authorizing wire transfers,” says Hanpeter. “We have developed a system that is a replacement for hand-written documents that slow even the fastest project.”

To learn more about Voice Signature Service, visit