Mary Kay Inc.

A woman works on the manufacturing line at Mary Kay

The 246 Mary Kay employees who participated were trained as part of the company’s partnership with El Centro, totaling 7,138 training hours during a two-year period.


El Centro College – Bill J. Priest Campus


Lean principles with specific industrial applications for Mary Kay employees in administration and production. Lean principles were first created by Toyota to reduce waste by defining, measuring, analyzing and improving processes in manufacturing. Lean management seeks to eliminate wastes of time and money through team-based problem solving.


Mary Kay Inc. has offered irresistible products, a rewarding opportunity and positive community impact for more than 50 years. With 3 million Mary Kay Independent Beauty Consultants and $3.5 billion in global annual wholesale sales, Mary Kay is a top beauty brand and direct seller in more than 35 markets around the world.

Goal and Target Population

To provide Lean manufacturing and management principles, including specific training in industrial maintenance and comprehensive refrigeration, to a diverse group of administrators, technical employees and production line technicians.


Funding in the amount of $294,489 was awarded through a Texas Workforce Commission Skills Development Fund grant for training in Advanced Improved Manufacturing (AIM) for full-time employees during a 12-month period.


The 246 Mary Kay employees who participated were trained for a total of 7,138 training hours over the two-year grant from August 2012 to August 2014.

Challenges and Solutions

A particular challenge on the production line needed addressing: there were few maintenance engineers to attend to issues as they arose and assistants didn’t have the level of technical expertise required to solve problems on their own. To increase skill levels, industrial maintenance classes were customized to the company’s specific machines and taught to approximately 60 line technicians.

Lipstick containers make their way to packaging on the Mary Kay line.

Strategies for Success

El Centro conducted thorough discovery to determine critical training needs, hiring qualified subject matter experts to provide hands-on instruction. The college maintained open lines of communication with company representatives on participant feedback and responded to that feedback during training.


Through the Lean process, Mary Kay trainees were able to follow a newly developed road map which they were a part of crafting, coming away with the ability to explain tasks to other workers with greater clarity. A larger pool of capable technicians is now available for troubleshooting on the production line. Following training, the company reported a rise in employee engagement and ability to handle mechanical issues, with downtime also reduced.

Lessons Learned

Consistent communication is the key to meeting or exceeding client expectations. It is imperative to employ high-quality instructors to meet the company’s needs for this training and to ensure that the company returns to the college for future training needs.

What Our Partners Say

Simone Hildner
Simone Hildner
Operations Training Supervisor, Mary Kay Inc.
“ I would like to thank the staff at (El Centro College) Bill J. Priest. They did an incredible job finding instructors and accommodating our requests. Mary Kay has enjoyed this partnership and we look forward to partnering with (them) for future training opportunities. ”

For More Information

El Centro College – Bill J. Priest Campus
Continuing and Workforce Education