The importance of evaluating the effectiveness of the purchasing function in firms along multiple criteria has attracted considerable attention. However, few studies have identified the defining elements that constitute purchasing competence. This paper introduces the construct of purchasing competence using a second-order factor structure derived from purchasing practices identified from the literature. The validity of the construct (purchasing competence) is tested using data from a sample of 179 firms. The results indicate (1) the construct validity of purchasing competence and (2) the predictive validity of purchasing competence, which has a significant positive influence on total quality management performance and customer satisfaction. The implications of these findings for additional research are discussed.