Right now the order in which planets are processed is really important when there is a metal shortage, since planets that have their production handled first can starve out the planets that are processed later. The game currently processes planets that have higher metal income first.
This is really bad for the AI, since it's highest metal income worlds typically have a lot of mines and few factories. While their metal use is less because their hammer output is smaller, if there's enough of them it can completely starve out the critical high production worlds.
Since the high production worlds are more likely to finish their projects sooner, having the metal go to the low production worlds needlessly prolongs the metal starvation for the AI. The AI also builds it's most strongly desired projects on its high production worlds first, so this means that the unimportant projects starve out the ones that the AI wants the most.
Do you think it would be worth it to change the order in which planets are processed?
I've been playing around with having planets process in order of higher production first, and it does help out the AI. In once case, an AI yoral had completely stopped expanding because it couldn't build an outpost transport, as it's main production world was being completely starved out (I had disabled hammer-to-metal conversion). When I went back several turns and changed the production order, the AI was not nearly as crippled by the metal shortage.
Of course, there are lots of things the AI can do to help it deal with metal shortages, but I think it would be good if the game defaulted to an order that was helpful for a metal-starved economy.