As a component supplier, our point of view is far smaller. It is normal for a new project to take an existing design then modify it as needed. Sometimes, this involves combining changes from different variations from a common ancestor. When this involves a single physical part, as opposed to an assembly, this requires some kind of "design merge". Sometimes this involves taking one of the 3D models and modifying it to incorporate the desired aspects of its "cousins". How much of this can be done automatically depends on a lot of things. The hardware designers have told me it usually takes very significant effort on their part to achieve the intended final result..
Still, we have a lot of metadata associated with the designs that we track.
My point is that, while we have a "wish list" of improvements to our tools, we're already doing what Jono said the maker community needs to figure out. Many of my coworkers - and I - are part of our local maker community. And I'm sure other local area maker communities have similar experts as members. Just a matter of education and sharing.