Rather than manually managing your own stations and factories, you can hire a Station Manager to take over that role for you. The Station Manager will take control of ships whose homebase is set to that station. These ships require Navigation Command Software MK1 to be installed for the Station Manager to issue tasks for them; however, ships that are simply homebased /without/ such software (or if their SM command has been explicitly disabled) will still transfer relevant resources to their homebase while docked there if they have such in their cargo hold. When the Station Manager takes control, these ships will only accept orders from the Station Manager; you will no longer have direct control over them.
Hiring Station Manager
To hire a Station Manager, go to the station's advanced command options, select a command slot, and choose a Station Manager. To remove a Station Manager, set the command slot to None. The same menu also includes options to control what the Station Manager can do; the options available will depend on whether the station is a factory, dock, complex or headquarters.
When the Station Manager is running, it should display in the slot
The station manager requires being paid, and will take wages every 2 hours of game time, any missed payments will be taken when money is available and if the manager misses multiple payments in a row, they will stop working until there is enough money in the station to cover all the missed wages.
The amount of wages required is dependent on the station type, basic factories being the cheapest to operate and the Headquarters being the most expensive.
Upgrading Ship: When enabled, the station manager will send ships to gather upgrades that will be useful for their tasks, provided that the station has sufficient money. These upgrades can include engine and rudder tunings, cargo extensions, ship equipment and shields.
Replacing Ships: When managed ships are destroyed, the manager will attempt to replace these, either by buying from a local shipyard or ordering them from your headquarters, if you have the necessary blueprints. The shipyard or HQ must be within the station's jump radius, and there must be sufficient funds in the station account. If the manager is unable to replace the ship within a reasonable time-frame, the replacement will be cancelled and you will be notified.
Repairing Ships: When managed ships are damaged, the manager will send them to a local shipyard or to your headquarters for repairs. The shipyard or HQ must be within the station's jump radius, and there must be sufficient funds in the station account for automatic ship repair/replacement to function
Supply Stations: You can add you own stations as supply stations for the Station Manager to use. The station manager will then pick up the products from that station when it needs them instead of buying them from other stations. The manager will also deliver resources if needed. When picking up or delivering to supply stations, no money will change hands, so acts as a free transaction
The Station Manager Restrictions option, also available in the station's command console, allows you further control over what the Station Manager is allowed to do. It can be used to specify wares that should not be bought or sold, to ignore certain ships to prevent them from being used by the Station Manager, and to blacklist sectors. Blacklisted sectors specified here are in addition to those set globally.
This will open a new menu with a number of configurable options
This will list all the ships currently assigned to the station. The ships must be equipped with Navigation Command Software MK1.
You can switch the role for each ship, the roles available will depend on the equipment installed on the Ship.
"Auto" role is the default, and the ship will be used for any role that its capable of doing based on the installed equipment, otherwise you can set it to a specific role, or disable it.
Setting the value to "None" will stop the station manager from using the ship, and give you control back over the ship, however, you must wait until the ship finishes its currently task before it starts it new role.
You can also set the Ware Restrictions for each individual ship, to limit what wares the ships will use
The ware restrictions allow you to allow or block the trading of each ware. So if you were to set Energy Cells to Block, the Station Manager will not trying to buy/sell them at all.
These restrictions can be set per ship as well (see above)
The Upgrade Restrictions allow you to block which upgrades the station manager will buy for its ships. The station manager will only upgrade ships if the upgrade option in the stations advanced settings is set to on.
The restrictions allows you to control which upgrades you wish it to buy. The "Shields" value will always buy the best shields for the ship.
The sector restrictions can restrict where the station manager will trade it. The station manager will already uses each ships blacklist, so any sectors blocks will not be used.
Only with Satellite: This will require a satellite deployed in the sector for the station manager to consider trading there.
Satellite Network (Enemies): This option makes use of your own Satellite network, if it detects enemies based on its profile, the Station Manager will avoid it, if this option is enabled.
The station manager will assign ships to different duties depending on thier settings in the Station Manager Restrictions menu, the default is auto, which will use ships for any duties that they have the upgrades for. Ships can only be assigned to duties if they have the correct equipment
Trade Ships: Ships that have either Trade Command Software MK1 or Trade Command Software MK2 are available for trade duties. These trade ships will be used to buy and/or sell the station's wares, with the Station Manager determining the appropriate action based on the current status of the station. If a factory has insufficient resources to start production, for example, then buying these resources will become a high priority. Ships will make use of a jumpdrive, if installed, and they do not require auto-jump settings for this to work, as they are controlled directly by the station manager. It is also possible to define a list of supply stations , which the Station Manager will prioritise for the purchase of resources, provided that those stations have sufficient stock available.
Scavenger Ships: Ships that have the Special Command Software installed can be used to scavenge for wares in the local area. These will fly to and pick up crates and deliver them back to the station. These ships will only pick up crates for wares that are currently available at the station. If its a Dock or Headquarters, you will first need to add the available ware, and Factories and Compelxes will only pick up the Resources need for production
Mining Ships: Ships that have the Mining Command Software installed will be used to mine the local asteroids. These will only mine asteroids if their mineral is a resource for the station. The ship will also require the ore collector and mineral scanner. If it has the Mobile Drilling System, then it'll also be able to break the larger asteroids, which this, the ship can only mine from the debris fields in some sectors, or already broken up large asteroids.