It is very common that orgaisations will reduce internal improvement activity and people training during the hard times. The normal thinking being “we have to use our limited resources elsewhere”, or “we will do it later when this more pressing activity is completed”.
Unfortunately hard times are becoming the norm and porfit margins harder and harder to find. Reducing buisness improvement activity and tranining during the tough times is a sure way to threaten the long term sustainability of any organisation. Once there is a process gap or a skills gap in the organisation, it can’t be rectified at a later date without significant resource and focus.
Don’t forget that it is very likely the competition hasn’t ceased these activities and when the hard times get even tougher they will a distict advantage.