Welcome to the Station Manager Information Guide.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.