When I started my manufacturing project, most of my blueprints were poorly researched because I was anxious to get started. Today, most of my blueprints are still poorly researched. I decided to fix that.
I decided to start with component blueprints, because they're quick to research -- 3-4 months instead of 15+ for ship blueprints.
So I had to decide what level to research the prints to. For this, I used spreadsheets.
This shows how much it cost to build a rorqual (me3 I think) at various component ME levels before crucible hit. These days the mineral cost is about 1700, and the savings will be 50% more as well.
Anyhow, we can see that actual savings from ME research fall off pretty quickly. The 2.5 (now 3.7) million per tier 2 hull you save between my current ME30 prints and and ME90 ones adds up, in my case, to about 50 million per month for my entire production line. Still, having decent prints is a matter of professionalism.
And now, PE. Saving one minute of ME means that a 60 component run will finish 1 hour sooner, or roughtly 1%. The difference between my PE10 prints and PE20 is fairly trivial, but considering that pretty much all I do is wait for runs to finish I'm going to call it worth it. Though, having PE on a capital print will save a lot more time.
I decided to go for 100/20. These are nice round numbers, plus in terms of resale, if you check contracts, it puts you at a nice balance point between poorly researched prints (e.g. 50/10) and excessively researched ones (200/50).
I didn't actually have the cash to buy a complete set of replacement prints, so I did it peacemeal. This is the status (as of a few days ago) of my components. It's probably pretty difficult to read if you didn't make it, but one cell equals one blueprint.
'Keep' means I'll be keeping both blueprints in order to increase production, rather than selling the one currently in production once it has been switched with a researched copy, and then itself researched to 100/20. This is because in the medium term I'm looking at increasing production to maybe 5 characters, which means I need moar blueprints.
I'd also like properly researched ship blueprints, eventually. This is a much longer term project project, and except for a few dread blueprints I haven't really gotten started on it yet. I expect I'll have all the replacement ship blueprints I need inside of 5 months, by which time sale of spare component blueprints will have freed up plenty of liquidity.
Also of note, I've decided to tear up freigher production permanently. Even when one of them (charon, of course) is pulling much larger profits than normal, the margins are still pathetic compared to jump capable ships. Plus, this is a good time to sell freighter prints -- my charon BPO went for 72% over NPC price.