They affect the intonation. Each saddle would adjust forward or backward independent off the others to get the same intonation of the first octave at the 12th fret as you would get playing the open string.
There isn't a set order. Each saddle is adjusted however it needs to be in order to properly intonate that string and they would typically never be in a completely straight line if the guitar was intonated properly.
Hope that's what you were looking for in the way of an answer.
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