One of my "bread & butter" jobs is replacing old panels. Since the old ones are usually piped in and you have the wires to wrestle with, this is where a lot of damage can happen- to the wire, the panel, and the wall.
Indeed, one of my common solutions probably gives the regulators listing heartburn: because knockouts NEVER match the arrangement of the old pipe, I've been known to cut the end plates out- and attach, in their place, the ends of the old panel.
It would be nice if panels did NOT have pre-punched knock-outs. It would be positively heavenly if panel cases were of standardised sizes- and the end plates were made to be removed (perhaps by drilling out rivets).
Yet, even getting a replacement innard for a "brand X" panel from the "brand X" manufacturer is impossible.....unless you 'go it alone' into the parts house with a tape measure, and open a bunch of boxes!
I believe that there is a need for "retro-fit friendly" panels. There's also, I believe, a place for half-width (single column) panels.
Manufacturers, are you listening?