I think you were write the crafting needs a refactoring, but on my opinion this is the wrong direction.
For people who want to sail a ship after a 3 clicks - therefore their is a shop !
The huge richness of details belonging to ship crafting was the charme of this game and makes it comfortable not only for doom- but also for anno-players. If you remove the intermediate materials there is no longer any challenge in managing the crafting and every 7-year-old midshipman could handle crafting a Victory.
When I walk through the shipyard I could smell the teak planks and see the reflection of my petroleum lamp in the gold of the furnishings.
I fear in the future I only smell the the plastic of my keypad and my mouse.
A pity, just another software whith a bunch of missed chances.
What will be next, a 'Kill-Button' which appears after 1 minute of NPC-battles to decrease the mouse-clicks at sea ?