Exel announced that its associates at Wal-Mart’s Johnstown, New York, return center earned the leading retailer’s ‘Specialty Distribution Center of the Year’ award for 2004. This is the second time the Johnstown team has received this recognition.

The 200,000-square-foot facility, which Exel has operated since 1995, serves the Northeast region of the United States as part of Wal-Mart’s regionalized return structure. Exel verifies merchandise upon receipt and then processes a majority of the inventory for re-distribution to the appropriate supplier.

During the past year, an increase in shipments through the Johnstown return center challenged Exel’s team to increase its productivity while maintaining superior operational performance levels.

Jim Schlieman, Exel’s Director of Operations, said, “We are fortunate and grateful to be in a relationship with Wal-Mart where the resources co-exist to manage positive change. Our team’s existing knowledge of Wal-Mart’s business and processes proved valuable in meeting key performance indicators tied to expected operational and financial objectives.”

Additional measurements include process efficiency, units handled per hour, quality assurance, safety, and handling costs per unit.