To succeed in Mobile Strike you will have to eventually manufacture equipment that will give your commander boosts in various areas. Basically you want an entire outfit for each task at hand - if you want to upgrade a building you will want your commander decked out head to toe in construction gear to dramatically cut down the time it will take. Same goes for research, attacking and defending and training troops. You only need to be wearing the gear when you initially start the timer, so as soon as you hit "Upgrade," you can change into gear suited for your next task.
To manufacture gear, tap on your Armory and go to Manufacture. You will see a list of gear categories. Go into one and find a piece of gear you'd like. If you have the appropriate materials, you will be able to manufacture the item by hitting the manufacture button. The quality of the item you manufacture depends on the quality of the materials you have to put into it - if you have all level three (green) materials, you will have 100% chance of manufacturing a level 3 item. If you have 3 level 3 materials and one level 6 material, your odds will change accordingly and you will see them on a scale just below the item. There are huge differences between the quality levels - a level one Intelligence Suit will knock 10 minutes off a research timer while a level six suit will drop 4 hours off it. So it pays to be patient and combine your materials in order to produce better quality items.