Yes that is one of the best product renderings I have seen in a while!
You can offset the end grain surface by a hundredth of a millimeter to apply a specific texture to it.
Make sure to round all the geometry’s edges by at least a tenth so that you do not notice the slight offset either directly or in the drop shadows.
Exactly. If I remember correctly I modeled to the correct millimeter thickness of the reference plywood (not the nominal inch-based thickness), built a repeating pattern from some available endgrain images, played with each texture’s scale until I had the correct number of plys applied to each surface, and applied a simple bump or normal map to get a little extra texture. It was super time consuming but ultimately worth it.
I create each of the plies as a separate body in SolidWorks so that way a distinct material can be applied to each body. I first create the primary surface, then thicken, then copy the bottom surface, thicken again, etc etc for each of the plies. This technique has the advantage of creating edges that are normal to each of the surfaces which is great for modeling molded plywood. I apply a darker wood material to the alternating plies when rendered to help mimic the different grain directions.