My industrial career in New Eden is coming along nicely. I have trained in many skills so that I am now productive. The handful of BPOs I speculated in have gone through long periods of material research, mostly waiting for the research laboratory to be free until I got access to my corporations POS, coming out with a much more efficient design process so that I don't waste so many costly minerals in manufacture. I have manufactured modules from the BPOs with at least one production run each, buying and storing the required minerals and building up knowledge of market prices of both the minerals and modules, allowing me to understand which modules are sought by capsuleers and which modules are too commonly dropped by rats to be worth manufacturing.
It is becoming clear to me which BPOs are worth investing more time and money in manufacture and which aren't likely to be profitable. I am also finding the whole process to be quite interesting. Being involved in the material requirements, to refining the processes, getting good prices for minerals, keeping track of manufacturing costs and eventually finding a place to sell the finished product presents lots of little challenges and opportunities, all of the competition being against other capsuleers.
At the moment, it is still more profitable to run missions than to rely on manufacturing to make ISK, but missions are now a pleasant distraction that can help to fuel my industry rather than being my sole enterprise within the galaxy. But there are still ways to increase my ability to profit, which I can achieve by looking to more advanced modules. I can start manufacturing Tech II hardware.
Tech II manufacture isn't quite as simple as buying a BPO and installing a job, the advanced electronics needs to come from somewhere. Tech II modules come from invention based on Tech I hardware. I am still not altogether clear about the entire process, although Kirith Kodachi has given me some excellent advice on how to get started. Using his guidelines allows me to make some sense out of the 'invention' tab on a BPO, which details what skills and items are needed to run invention jobs on a particular BPO.
My first task is to pick a suitable module, something that will sell quickly and profitably as a Tech II item. There is the option of the always-popular invulnerability shield, with armour repairers and medium drones also a possibility to begin with, hopefully all items that are in demand and benefit from being advanced technology. I can buy the BPOs and get them started on ME research. Once the ME research is at a reasonable level I believe I need to make BPCs from the BPO, with the BPC being consumed in the invention job.
With the BPOs in for research I can look at what skills I need to perform the invention task on each of them, as I can't get anywhere without the right skills. I find that I have most of the prerequisite skills already learnt with only the top-level skills required to be bought and trained. That is my next task. Once I start getting the skills trained I will look in to the datacores and data interfaces required for the invention job. I am still not entirely clear how I get R&D agents working for me, or what that actually means. I'm sure I'll be able to find out some relevant information about the process soon enough, though.
I think my main stumbling block at the moment will be finding enough ISK to pay for all the skill books and exotic items required. With my industrial endeavours feeding a steady stream of ISK to my wallet, and occasionally jumping in to a battlecruiser to augment my income with some mission rewards and bounties, I should be able to keep everything running smoothly.