The #1 mistake made by tradeshow exhibitors is forgetting to fill out the Materials Handling Agreement (MHA)!
First of all, what is an MHA? An MHA is a form generated by the Service Contractor at show site. The service contractor’s form permits the release of your materials to your designated carrier at the conclusion of the show. This form must be completed and turned in to the service contractor’s desk (Service Desk) in order for your outbound freight to be released to your designated carrier.
Sometimes the MHA is an afterthought for many booth reps. The reps are overwhelmed with the urgency to break down the booth, pack up, and get the heck out of Dodge. Leaving that lonely MHA to sometimes be shoved to the side and over looked. Or at best, the rep does one of three things:
1. They remember to fill out the form, but forget to sign it and/or...
2. They forget to write in their preferred carrier, and then…
3. They leave that form laying on their freight at the booth.
When any of these mistakes occur, your designated carrier will arrive in the marshalling yard to check in and retrieve your freight from show site. If the MHA is not completed or not turned into the Service Desk, the Service Contractor has no other choice but to turn the driver away and this leaves your lonely little freight out on the floor to await it’s time to become re-routed freight (freight not picked up by a selected carrier at the end of an event is consigned (re-routed) to the house carrier).
But don’t you worry your pretty little self; your freight will still find its way back to your office….maybe. But this is not without cost!
1. You’ll most likely pay a higher shipping rate
2. Your freight may arrive COD.
3. You may incur an attempted pick up fee from your original carrier
4. You may have a challenging time tracking your freight
5. If you had an expedited shipment, your freight may not make it in time to the next show!
So, make your freight happy and make yourself happy! Teach your show reps how to complete an MHA. Fill out that MHA stating your preferred carrier, complete piece description, sign the form, and turn it into the Service Desk! It’s so easy; a 3rd grader could do it…or an overstimulated show site rep!
Watch this video to better understand why filling out your MHA is so important!