Anyone who took part in Lean Transformation projects using the Lean SMED (Single Minute Exchange of Die) instruments, designed by Shigeo Shingo, certainly has met this problem.
SMED consists of trying to minimize the change times, moving, as much as possible the activities conducted with a stopped machine in a time frame in which the machine is working (“masked” time).
Reporting the steps with paper, pen and stopwatch in hand could be a good method but when the setup has a long duration or it is complex, this whole operation could result difficult and onerous(certainly not Lean!). For example it is possible skip something, make mistakes in the collection of time datas or maybe loose that detail that could be a excellent opportunity for improvement.
For our opinion, record a video is, instead, almost always the best way! Certainly film parts of a process with operators, foregrounds the privacy’s problem or the fear of being observed by management but it matters a lot the willingness to communicate, getting involved and to prepare these Kaizen events. You could try to offer a video camera to the operators! Give always the guarantee to delete the video! At the end the objective is shared: work better, with more efficacy and with more pleasure!