Keeping my manufacturing plant static

5th October 2009 – 5.49 pm

Kename Fin asks why I don't move my manufacturing base closer either to my mission base or the corporation headquarters, to improve convenience and encourage activity. Akura Kawanaka suggests using jump clones. I suspect my reply will be rather long to sit in a mere comment.

Moving my manufacturing base sounds like it could be a lot of effort, but when I think about it all I really need to do is throw my BPOs in to a cargo hold and take them with me when I move. Of course, I also need materials to manufacture from the blueprints, but those can be bought at prevailing market prices easily enough at almost any destination. The actual manufacturing is performed by renting NPC labour and plants, and it's safe to say that anywhere there are high-sec agents there will be a manufacturing laboratory nearby, particularly when running missions for a production corporation.

The situation is rarely as simple as it sounds, though. I may be able to buy minerals wherever I dock my ship, but moving base will either require the minerals to be moved with me, sold, or left behind. Leaving the minerals behind will waste a chunk of ISK, and it is generally unlikely for me to return to the same mission base after moving on to a higher-quality agent, so the minerals would be abandoned until I get around to picking them up or selling. Selling the minerals may get my ISK back, but more likely is that I'll turn a loss on the sale, which is far from ideal.

If I am to take the minerals with me each time I move base then I face a rather more involved and tedious process of hauling a few million rocks across potentially a dozen jumps or more, which would take several return journeys in a slow industrial ship. The headache of moving is exacerbated when considering how ephemeral mission bases tend to be, temporary destinations that are only visited for long enough to advance standings and move to work with better agents elsewhere. Moving mission bases should happen frequently, each move requiring time to transport ships and fittings. One goal in setting myself up in a manufacturing base is to prevent this nuisance from adversely affecting my industrial ventures.

I could buy fewer minerals in the first place, but not having the convenience of a mineral stockpile would prevent me starting production runs on market whims. Having to jump all over the region buying and hauling minerals every time I need to refill a market order is a chore. Having a stockpile of minerals also lets me start manufacturing jobs remotely, thanks to the scientific networking skill. The idea is that I shouldn't need to move my manufacturing base because I can start and deliver jobs without having to leave my mission base. The problem at the moment is that my current mission base is in a separate region to the manufacturing base, and regional boundaries are a harsh mistress, an impervious barrier to all NPC communications.

Being an industrialist doesn't end with manufacturing modules, to think so being a beginner's error. With the regional barrier also impervious to all trade information, I lose all contact with the markets where I have placed my products for sale when moving my mission base to a new region. If I were also to move my manufacturing base I would either need to travel back to the previous region to place the modules for sale, or put the modules up for sale in the new region. Letting the old regional sales go unmaintained is a sure way to lose ISK, and placing sell orders in the new region will only compound the problem when next my mission base moves.

Moving to a new region also means finding the best stations to sell modules. It could be as simple as finding out where other industralists sell, but proper explotation of prices takes time for experience to reveal gaps in the market. My own sales would diminish with each move, selling in stations with competitive traders, and if I were to travel to exploit the best markets I may as well travel that extra jump to pick up the modules from my remote manufacturing base.

Not being able to exploit the market properly is also why I am reluctant to move my manufacturing base down to corporation headquarters. I am blessed with being Caldari, understanding the refinements of shields and missiles, and I manufacture what I know. Moving down to Amarr-space may find me a niche for ex-patriots needing to upgrade their ships, but it is just as likely that another caspuleer is already doing so, resulting in even stiffer competition in a more stagnant market. Having to move my portfolio in to guns and armour would take a fair amount of time, as well as make me feel dirty.

Using jump clones to ease my travel difficulties is probably a good suggestion. However, ignoring having to get some more costly implants to mitigate skill training losses, the day-long cool-down on jumping between clones is quite costly when all I want to do is start some industrial jobs and monitor market prices. It is a possibility, certainly, as it could be useful in some situations, but it seems like using jump clones opens up more logistical difficulties than it solves in this case. It's likely I still don't understand their uses fully, though. I have one jump clone in a vat somewhere, as yet unused.

Essentially, I am happy with where my manufacturing base is for the purpose of creating a reliable income, and moving it would create too many impediments to successful ISK accumulation, at least in the short-term. There may come a time when moving the base becomes sensible, and it would behove me to prepare for such an eventuality by expanding my BPO portfolio. But I don't think any relocation will be necessary as long as industry maintains a comfortable second place to wormhole operations.

  1. 5 Responses to “Keeping my manufacturing plant static”

  2. There is also an extreme risk with moving BPOs. If someone were to scan you down and notice the nice collection you have, you'd become a prime target for a gank.

    By Squizz Caphinator on Oct 5, 2009

  3. That's a good point.

    Are items stored in GSCs revealed with a ship scanner?

    By pjharvey on Oct 5, 2009

  4. I've heard that they are, but I've not tested it. warp cloaked and jump manually in your crane and tank it properly and you should be fine though :-)

    By Akura Kawanaka on Oct 5, 2009

  5. Unfortunately, secure containers hide nothing when you're scanned. The only "secure" thing about a secure container is that you can put a password on it when it is anchored or in a corp hangar.

    By Squizz Caphinator on Oct 6, 2009

  6. Mmm, GSCs would make it a bit easy to hide cargo from pirates. I suppose they could simply shoot the box open once they get it anyway.

    I imagine my ship has to be locked on to before scanned, or indeed shot at, and I think Akura is right in that my Crane is pretty safe. I have had a few skulls target me whilst I have been flying on auto-pilot, and a quick burst of the MWD shoots me to the gate and in to the next system before a lock is acquired.

    Still, losing my lovely BPOs is a risk I would need to consider if I transport more than a few at a time.

    By pjharvey on Oct 6, 2009

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