I integrated (and gave credit) some of your observations into my very own thread.
I believe this randomness generates monsters. A casual crafter can reach milestones faster then a dedicated crafter if more lucky. What we need is a system that rewards dedication and investments, not just luck; as they are now crew skills often lead to frustration only.
I've not seen a casual crafter reach milestones faster than a dedicated crafter yet. I'm the only guy on my server providing purple techblades for consulars. I'm pretty sure casual crafters can't do that.