I've made reference in recent posts to working on getting T2 industry running. Let me pull back the curtain a bit on more details, in a way that perhaps can help any readers who are looking at the same. I do so with the disclaimer that I am not rolling in the ISK at this point. However, I notice that most blogs out there that talk about the Manufacturing side of industry are either at the top end already (talking about capitals and the like) or are very old postings making reference to market opportunities that in my experience no longer exist.
There is on exception to this, the brand new blog Manufacturing Confusion by Ragelle. He is building up from first principles so there's a lot of detail there, enough so that if you're new to the whole industry thing you may need to do a good bit of reading before you can grok it. On the other hand, this is Eve, so you should be expecting complexity.
I'm going to start with the basics and work my way up over the posts. I expect this will help me understand things more as well, as explaining things generally does. I'll try to include lots of links to tools and information pages that can help readers who are interested in exploring this portion of Eve's immense economic world.
The perspective I'm writing for is someone who doesn't intend for industry to be their primary play style. My goal is to be able to spend a short time regularly to update things, then move on to other things such as PVP roaming. For me, the ideal industry effort would be concluded in a 30 minute or so time slot while the kids are watching TV before starting the bedtime routine.
Production versus Competition (aka researching any entry to T1 Industry )
There are some (mostly old) forum posts out there about how you can get started with T1 manufacture. After my own research earlier this year I'd suggest that opportunities here are pretty limited, so you have to pick your position with research. Perfect T1 manufacturing skills are pretty easy to come by (Production Efficiency V being the real necessity at 15d or so) compared to other ISK-making activities (perfect PI taking 60+ days, for instance). That means that a lot of people can pile in and the competition keeps the margin down. The ways to get around that are to operate away from hubs (lower demand but lower competition) or less obvious products, so that you can avoid that competition and keep a margin. How do you do that?
Start with IPH or a tool like it. Once you know more you may want to write your own spreadsheets, but start with a tool so you don't spend all your time writing and debugging the sheets without actually manufacturing anything. Load the prices for your home region and set it to run for all blueprints. This will take a while. Some things will come to the top - right now in my region there are some rigs at the top. There are multiple ways to have IPH rank the results. The "ISK per Hour" setting, however, will assume that you're there to flip your jobs the moment they finish. On the T1 Industry side you can control this - if you run in batches that are sized to complete just before your next login. The IPH Tool has a nice stat for each of these marked "SVR" - this is how much sales volume there is in that product compared to how much you can make in a day. If it's less than 1.0, then even if you're the only manufacturer of the product then you'll outstrip demand. Think of it as how many people can be competing and still sell their stuff. If it's a high number then your stuff should sell fast. The IPH tool has an option "IPH * SVR" to rank this - however, what it doesn't take into account is how many people are already fighting it out for that money.
Eve Central to the rescue. Let's say I've spotted that Cynosural Field Generation I is a high margin item and moves with a high volume. All those jump freighters out there keep getting their cyno alts popped after all. Limit the search to your home region and take a look (this link won't have the region limit since that's in a cookie rather than the URL). As of this writing there are two multi-thousand unit sell orders fighting it out and pushing down margins. Yep, it was obvious money and bigger fish than you are already in that pond. The margin might be decent now, but with that much weight queued up it will be a 0.01 ISK-fest. Unless you're lucky, your order will soon be twelve down in the sales order even though you're only 0.25 ISK more expensive than the current low sale.
Lets say you find a good item. Switch back to IPH and double-click on it and you'll jump to the details of that blueprint's production. The trick here is that IPH has assumed you already have the BPO - and by default I believe it assumes you have a ME:25,PE:10 BPO or somesuch. Look up the price for a brand new BPO from NPCs in the open market, then look up the price for a moderately researched BPO (like 25/10) on contracts. In IPH on the Blueprint tab look up the "Additional Costs" field (it's in the middle top). Put in the price of the blueprint as an additional cost and crank the number of runs up to 100 or so, then hit the "Refresh" button. Now you can see how profitable it will be after you've forked out for the BPO. By playing with the Number of Runs field you can see how long it will take for you to recoup the BPO price and start making money. This may be a while.
Another option is to look for the price of a BPC on contracts. Put the price of the BPC in and put in the maximum number of runs from the BPC in as the number of runs for IPH. The BPC may be a good way to get your feet wet, though at the end of the run the BPC will be worthless, so you need to make it count.
Be warned, other people are running the same kinds of tools. They may be bringing their production to market even as you're out buying that BPO. So don't commit all of your ISK to one venture. You may have to decide to sell at a loss to recover ISK or sit on your stock until the price cycles up again - or find a new location.