Business espionage may be more prolific than James Bond Stuff.
In many cases, a business will send a ‘spy’ to see how and what their competitor is doing. It is not one spy nor one occasion.
The spy is not sent, in many cases, to learn the new methods employed by the successful competitor, they are sent to find weak points.
Sure, many will report innovations that can be implemented and provoke changes, but in many cases it is easier to exploit the weak points.
It is easier for a business to stay as is and make sure that they always have the products the other business runs out of.
They hear people ask for X item, and told; “We ordered it”, and rush back over to make sure that their business has a huge stock.
They may learn that a particular distributor is always late so find another. They may even pay more to get those products.
For if you go to X shop to buy Y and they don’t have Y, but the shop across the road always has Y, then the choice is simple.