That brings back memories
Ok, you found the same limitation i did. The first question is how to handle the money. The second one is how to distribute the wares to points needed to produce goods. There's a third question later, as you will see how many products are produced among all the sectors. Also, if you keep producing, you'll flood your universe with your own wares, which will make stations dissappear in the end.
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What you really want is money. You need a lot of customers who really need your trading goods. Therefore you need working and producing stations. NPC stations normally starve because of the underwhelming transportation of food or energy. It is best to think about your trading goods first in terms of capacity. You may have a legendary amount of money gained by selling a high tech weapon... but the station buying may not have enough money left to buy a second one. Also the amount of storage on the buying station is important, as NPCs can't sell wares like players do. The thing is to understand that every basic ware is used to build a more complex ware, which is also used again to build a mor complex... until you hit the level of weapons and shields. Basically everything results in building a laser. These are the end of the line. The line starts out of thin air with the production of the most basic things like ore, silicon, and energy. For basic food components and mines you'll get more if you have more of those stations in your universe. But the highest tier wares will pile up, filling up the stations quickly. The Egosoft solution is, that NPC trading stations and eq docks are acting as a sort of garbage can. The god module actively removes wares from those stations. If not, the whole universe would stall after a while, because the highest tier wares can't be consumed. So the best way to earn money is to elongate the time until a ware would be gobbled up in a dock or station by god. By having lots and lots of steps to production, which will all need a separate delivery will give you every time a small amount of money earned. The more trade runs, the more you will earn. While producing a single PPC may give you tons of money, the overall capacity to sell those things in the universe is limited.
The amount of roids is also limited by the universe map itself. Even if you place a mine on any roid you can't get more, and in the end all other mines will disappear, because the god module removes them. But you can get a decent amount of money by trading them. Producing is tied to a fixed cycle which can't be modified, but trade is only depending on the clever use of freighters and their individual setup. If you are trading goods with a small ware class (S and M), try to use fast ships that are trading often. So it may make sense to use M5 to sell energy cells in sector to keep the economy running, but not to raise/lower prices to a not wanted limit. You can keep the prices constantly on a decent level, granting you every trade run a fair amount of money. If you use high capacity traders, like teladi or paranidian freighters, you buy a very high amount of wares, but you need to wait a long time to do the next trade. That can lower your income while doing a lot of trades could be the better choice. PLUS! The stations won't disappear, as they're frequented a lot by your ships.
But how would you handle the cash flow? Basically the CAG is capable to monitor a long range of sectors for decent prices depending on the setup on his home station. That's happening automatically. You'll set up a limit for the station to transfer the money on your account. The trick for trading stations (or your sleeping complex) is that you are able to determine the products sold and bought. In case of trading stations they will be added automatically as soon as you add a ware manually to your trading station. But CAGs aren't using trading stations not like others, there's a twist. If you set them to close, the CAGs are only selling, not buying. If you open them, the CAGs are just buying, not selling. So they will never buy anything themselves, wasting time by searcing for good prices to buy. That's where the CLS kicks in. You setup a storage (complex/Storage/wahtever) and a small fleet of 3-5 freighters to buy all goods you like from the NPC stations. The goods will be transported to their home and will be distributed by CLS to all trading stations you own. A clever cycle with a paranidian freighter can deliver quite a lot of goods to 4-5 trading stations. These trading stations are using each a single CAG freighter suitable for the wares delivered. High capacity for bulky freight, fast and small ones for something like weed or space fuel
As you can determine the worth of the wares delivered, you can automatically feed the buying stations with the credits earned by the trading stations selling all the wares. You just need to setup the money transfer limit high enough. That grants a constant cash flow. You just need to buy on your own stations
The absolute upside is that the universe starts humming with activity after a while. No more missing stations, the impact of Pirates and Xenons are not that big anymore. In case of terran weapons this may be a very nice side effect, as the length of cycles to produce them yourself are a pain.
The best products to buy and sell are the tier 1 food products. That means wheat, soy beans and so on. They may look cheap on the first glance, but they have the highest amount of price range if you calculate it. Others, like silicon and ore do not have such a high range of min/max price available. As it is more efficient to trade often than to go for high priced goods, those small soy beans are generating a higher gain per trade. You may sell 300 silicon or 10000 soy beans... you'll get a lot more for the silicon, but your gain for soy beans will be higher, as you need to pay more to buy or to produce the silicon.
The only way to earn more money on a single trade is to trade manually with EQ docks by selling them wares they don't have in stock. But they will refill their money after a fixed period of time, limiting your income.
In the end it looks like this:
Buying station (3 freighters buying) ->CLS Freighter fetching/distributing wares -> Trading station (1 freighter selling in the surrounding 3-6 sectors)
Buying station (3 freighters) <- CLS Freighter buying <- Trading station (1 freighter) generating money for CLS and your bank account
If you let the CLS run on your HQ or a specific complex, you can extract literally money on every single trade run. If you want to have the full control you don't assign a home base and you'll pay their wages from your bank account directly. But be aware that this will end up in a completely broken game, as your bank account will start to grow so fast that there's no challenge anymore. That happens normally after the setup of the 5th trading station.
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