Recently Ramsay (Eur. J. Purchasing Supply Manage. 7 (4) (2001) 257) applied the resource-based view of the firm (RBV) to argue that purchasing is a largely irrelevant activity from a strategic management point of view. In this paper it is argued to the contrary since there is a wider theoretical base underlying strategic management, more recent developments in the RBV suggest that purchasing is indeed a strategic activity, and much empirical evidence demonstrates that purchasing and supply management contribute to sustainable competitive advantage. A systematic set of criteria is then put forward, which helps purchasing management researchers to assess whether studied phenomena have strategic impact.